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Education

Meeteetse Conservation District, Trout Unlimited and Wyoming Game and Fish had a “Wildlife Habitat” Education Day at Meeteetse School on April 16, 2010. The students practiced casting with a fly rod, tying fishing knots, and learning about riparian health, fish habitat, stream erosion, and conservation.

stream table casting

Click here to visit the Wyoming Barnyards and Backyards

Click here to visit the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Education page

Click here to visit the UW College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

Click here for Small Acreage Events

Click here to visit the NACD Education page

KIDS’ CORNER:

Weather: Have you ever wondered why it is colder during wintertime? Or why Wyoming doesn’t get as much snow as other places? Have you ever lived anywhere besides Meeteetse? Was the weather different? If so, how was it different? If you have lived in Meeteetse your whole life, what differences have you noticed from year to year? Were some years colder, hotter, more snow, more rain, etc.? Have you ever been in a major weather event, such as: a blizzard, earthquake, tornado, or hurricane? If so, what was it like? Why would a farmer or rancher want to know the weather forecast (a weather forecast is a prediction or guess of what the weather will be like)?

Weather Project: For next year (2006) try to predict what the weather will be like for each month. Write down what month you think will be the coldest, what month you think will be the hottest, what month you think will get the most rain or snow, and any other weather related item you can think of. Keep your own weather log and see if it matches your predictions.

Click here for tips on forecasting the weather

Want to learn more?
Weather Wiz Kids
Web Weather for Kids
NOAA Education Kids Weather

Other Kids’ Projects:
Animal Tracks
Weed Game
Grazing Animals
Icy Snow Experiment
Tree Ring Project
Nematodes and Earthworms
Soil Texture Experiments
Plant Identification
Geology

ANIMAL TRACKS

Have you ever seen your own footprint in the snow, mud or sand? Animals leave footprints or tracks just like we do. Hunters often look for animal tracks to help find their prey.
Animal tracks are often seen on rangeland because animals use this type of land, especially in the winter time as feeding and watering grounds. Rangeland helps wildlife and is a good place to find tracks. Another good place to find tracks is near a water source because animals need to drink water just like we do.

ANIMAL TRACK DETECTIVE PROJECT

Go outside and be an animal track detective. Look for tracks if you see a track, draw a picture of it. If you have a ruler, take a measurement of it. Try to figure out what animal made the track. Was it a pet, a bird, a small animal, large animal, or maybe even a human??? Try making your own tracks if you can’t find any. Remember a good place to find tracks is near a water or food source. Another place to look for tracks is inside tree bark. Beetles often make galleries or little trails inside the bark of a tree or in a decaying log. Also, look on leaves. Sometimes bugs will leave a slimy trail or other evidence that they were there.

Want to learn more?
42explore-Animal Tracks
Beartracker’s Animal Track Den

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WEED GAME

Can you figure out which of these plants isn’t a weed?
1. Dandelion
2. Indian Paintbrush
3. Canada Thistle
Click here for the answer!!!!

Want to learn more?
Wyoming Weed and Pest Council

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GRAZING ANIMALS

Since it is summer, many range grasses are out right now. Many animals are dependent on grass for its nutritional value. Can you think of animals besides cows that eat grass?
For this project you will need a piece of paper, glue, old magazines and/or newspapers, crayons, markers or paints and your imagination. Go collect some grass. It can be from your yard, a field or pasture. Glue the grass to the bottom of the piece of paper. Then draw or paint animals that eat grass on the paper. You can also look through magazines and newspapers and cut out pictures of animals that eat grass and also glue them on the paper.

Want to learn more?
Enchanted Learning: Grassland Animal Printouts
Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia: Grazing
American Forage and Grassland Council

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ICY SNOW EXPERIMENT

(a project for kids to do preferably on a snowy day)

What you will need:
1 measuring cup (like the kind you use in the kitchen)
2 drinking glasses
scotch tape
paper and pen
ice cubes and snow (if available)

Directions:
Go outside and fill up your measuring cup with snow (if there isn’t any snow then skip this part). Take your snow inside and place it in a one of your drinking glasses. Label the drinking glass SNOW.
Fill the measuring cup with ice cubes. Try to make them fit in the cup as good as possible. Then put your ice cubes in your other drinking glass. Label the drinking glass ICE.
Now time for your predictions: Do you think there will be more snow or ice once it has completely melted? Do you think there will be less melted snow than when you started? What about the ice?

Results:
Wait until the ice and snow have completely melted (this could take awhile). Then refill the measuring cup with the melted snow from your SNOW glass. Is the amount less or more than before it was melted? Do the same with your melted ice in your ICE glass? Was there more melted ice or snow? How do you think your results relate to snowpack and water supply? What else do your results tell you?

Want to learn more?
National Snow and Ice Data Center
NRCS Water Supply Forecast Reports and Maps/ Drought Monitor Snowpack Update
Wyoming Snow Precipitation Update

Other Links:
USDA Soil Education

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TREE RING PROJECT

Did you know that tree rings will be wider during years of heavy rainfall and narrower during times of drought? Try to find a piece of wood cut in a circle. Try to figure out what years had more rain than others.tree ring project

Have you noticed how dry it has been lately?
Can you think of 5 things you use water for everyday?

Want to learn more?
Wyoming Drought Monitor

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NEMATODES AND EARTHWORMS

Do you think earthworms are good or bad for the soil?
Do you know what a nematode is?
How do nematodes differ from earthworms?
Are earthworms bigger than nematodes?

Earthworm/Nematode Project
Conduct your own research on nematodes and earthworms. Make a chart showing the differences and similarities between earthworms and nematodes.

Example:

  Earthworms Nematodes
Bodies segmented yes no
Live in the soil yes yes

Want to learn more?
USDA Nematology Home Page
Sugar Beet Nematode – University of Wyoming

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SOIL TEXTURE

Soil texture is a term used to describe the different sizes of mineral particles that make up a soil. Another way to look at it is to think about the different textures of clothing that you wear. Your cotton shirt is made of smaller fibers, while a burlap bag is made up of larger fibers. Each type of material feels different to the touch because they are made up of different sized fibers. The same is true of soil, however soil is made up of mineral particles instead of cloth fibers. Soil particles can be classified into 3 main size classes or “separates”: sand (2.00 to 0.05 mm diameter), silt (0.05 to 0.002 mm diameter), and clay (less than 0.002 mm diameter). Most soils are a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Different names are given to the soil depending on what percentages of sand, silt, and clay the soil is made up of.

Why is soil texture important?
In general, sandy soils are usually not as fertile. Sandy soils have a harder time retaining moisture and nutrients (water and nutrients just run right through it). Crops can grow in sandy soils, but probably would require more water and fertilization. Sandy soils are typically good for building roads and buildings.
The majority of the time, finer textured soils are more fertile and are able to retain moisture and nutrients more efficiently. However, some soils that are really fine textured become too sticky when wet and too hard when dry to grow crops. They also may shrink and swell too dramatically, which isn’t very desirable if you want to build a road or building.

References
Brown, R.B. Soil Texture. University of Florida.
Singer, M.J. and D.N. Munns. Soils and Introduction. 1999. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Soil Texture Experiment
Identifying Texture by Feel (courtesy of Colorado State University, Cooperative Extension consumer horticulture specialist and Colorado Master Gardener coordinator; C. Wilson, Extension horticulture agent, Denver County; and A. Card, Extension horticulture agent, Boulder County. 12/03)

Feel test – Rub some moist soil between your fingers.
• Sand feels gritty
• Silt feels smooth
• Clays feel sticky

Ball squeeze test – Squeeze a moistened ball of soil in your hand.
• Coarse textures (sand or sandy loam) soils break with slight pressure.
• Sandy loams and silt loams stay together but change shape easily.
• Fine textured (clayey or clayey loam) soils resist breaking.

Ribbon test – Squeeze a moistened ball of soil out between your thumb and fingers.
• Sandy soils won’t ribbon.
• Loam, silt, silty clay loam or clay loam soil ribbons less than 1 inch.
• Sandy clay loam, silty clay loam or clay loam ribbons 1 to 2 inches.
• Sandy clay, silty clay, or clay soil ribbons more than 2 inches.
A soil with as little as 20 percent clay may behave as a heavy clayey soil. A soil needs 45 percent to over 60 percent sand to behave as a sandy soil.

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PLANT IDENTIFICATION

Spring is here and many plants are in bloom and have leafed out, which is a good time to figure out what kind of plant or species they are. All plants have a scientific name. For example, the cottonwoods down by the river are narrowleaf cottonwoods, which has the scientific name Populus angustifolia. There are many different species or types of cottonwoods. For example, lanceleaf cottonwoods have the scientific name Populus acuminata.

Go outside and look at the plants near your house. Are there trees, shrubs, flowers, and weeds? Do you know the name of any of them? If you know the name for example, a dandelion, you can find out its scientific name by looking at a plant book or on the internet. The scientific name for dandelion is: Taraxacum officinale.

Make a notebook and write down the common names of the plants by your house and try to find out the scientific names of the plants too. You can even collect part of the plant or take a photo of the plant and put it in your notebook. For plants you do not know, try to use a field guide and figure out what species the plant is or see if someone you know can help you figure out what it is.

Want to learn more?
USDA Plants Database
National Arbor Day Foundation Tree Identification
Botany.com

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GEOLOGY

Rocks are everywhere and in every size. See how many different colored rocks you can find. Try building things with the rocks you find. Are some rocks smooth and others rough? Why do you think that is? If you have time go to Mineralogical Society of America’s Mineralogy 4 Kids Rockin’ Internet Site and play some of their games and learn more about minerals and rocks.

Other Links:
University of Illinois Great Plant Escape Game
USGS Biological Resources Kids Corner: Fun Projects
USDA Soil Education

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The answer is #2. Indian Paintbrush is not a weed. Indian Paintbrush is native (from) to the United States. Actually, it is Wyoming’s state flower.
Dandelions come from Europe and are considered weeds. Canada Thistle is native to temperate regions of Eurasia and is considered a noxious weed.
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