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Edith Bowen Students Aid USU-led River Conservation Efforts

Thursday, Jun. 02, 2016

USU’s Karen Mock guides youngsters in conservation project

USU Quinney College of Natural Resources associate dean Karen Mock guides Edith Bowen Lab School second graders in a conservation project along Cache Valley's Blacksmith Fork River.

Students and teachers plant aspen samplings

Students and teachers plant aspen saplings at the south edge of Logan's Blackhawk Soccer Complex. The project was collaboration between USU, Logan City and Bio-West as part of the Logan River Task Force’s conservation action plan.

Second grade students from the Edith Bowen Laboratory School on the Utah State University campus were key players in a collaborative conservation effort along the banks of Cache Valley’s Blacksmith Fork River.

Armed with gardening tools and aspen saplings, the youngsters trudged across Logan’s Blackhawk Soccer Complex May 19, surveyed sites on the river and planted vegetation in an effort to protect riparian areas.

“Hopefully, you can visit this site again and see how tall your trees have grown,” said Quinney College of Natural Resources associate dean and professor Karen Mock, as she helped the children plant their saplings.

The young students squealed with delight as one pulled a worm from the soil.

Eric Newell, STEAM and place-based learning specialist at Edith Bowen coordinated the project with Mock and USU Forestry Extension educator Megan Dettenmaier, along with representatives from Logan City and local environmental consulting firm Bio-West.

“Our teachers were seeking a service-learning project for our second graders and it all came together perfectly,” Newell says.

The Logan River Task Force, chaired by USU Department of Wildland Resources faculty member Frank Howe, unveiled a comprehensive action plan earlier in the year that included a demonstration planting project at the south end of the soccer complex, bordered by the tributary of the Logan River. The city suggested a second planting project at the same site that could involve the Edith Bowen students.

“This presented an ideal, hands-on learning activity for the students,” says Dettenmaier, who was among the adult mentors guiding the children in the project. “Though young, second graders understand that our activities have an impact on the environment and we have a responsibility to take care of these natural systems.”

She said hands-on projects in the field help students connect what they’re learning in the classroom with real-world challenges.

“These kinds of experiences are great for children,” Dettenmeier says. “We hope this project sparks their interest in natural resources and they’ll continue to pursue this interest in the future.”

Related links:

Contact: Megan Dettenmaier, 435-797-8424,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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