Hundreds of fifth graders spent the day Wednesday learning about the environment at the Harrison County Farm.
"Conservation Day" teaches children the importance of preserving our natural resources. The outdoor classroom includes lessons about trees and pollution and wildlife habitat.
"One hurricane came in, injured this tree and it tried to heal itself. See where it's coming around it," said one of the outdoor instructors, as he pointed to a strange looking piece of pine tree.
A heart shaped section of pine made an interesting show and tell for curious fifth graders. The importance of preserving trees is the focus of the learning station.
"If we don't have trees, then we won't be able to live. And trees grow in the soil. So if something's wrong with the soil, something may happen to the trees and we may lose a lot of oxygen from the trees 'cause they produce oxygen," explained fifth grader Taylor Hardy, who attends D'Iberville Middle School.
A Department of Wildlife instructor talked about squirrels and deer. His message involves the shrinking habitat.
"There might be an area where there's too many deer or the habitat is not as good. Might have the same deer in the same area that grows antlers like this one," he said, while holding up a deer antler.
Games are a good way to sneak in a serious message about preserving the environment. One activity helps the kids understand the significance of and differences between a variety of natural resources.
Taylor Tripp is a fifth grade student at Our Lady of Fatima.
"Because if we don't protect the environment we'll have nothing to eat or drink or no natural resources," Tripp said.
"You've got organic matter, mineral matter, water and air," said an instructor, who talked about soil types and uses.
Youngsters say this visit to the county farm beats hitting the books indoors on a beautiful day like this.
"We also learned about the trees, about poison ivy and what it looks like and why you should stay away from it," said Jacob Loken, a fifth grader at Fatima.
It's some practical advice to go along with their environmental awareness education.
The Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation District organizes the annual field day.