Jefferson County Education Outreach
In 2015, conservation districts educated 100,000 students statewide about agriculture, farming, wildlife, and (of course) conservation! Alabama is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and natural beauty. Conservation districts offer a number of educational programs to show students how to be good stewards of our natural resources so future generations can enjoy the same Alabama the Beautiful we know and love. Contact your district administrative coordinator if you’d like to bring an educational program to your school or group, and be sure to check out what’s available on the state level too.
The Jefferson County Conservation District hosts two annual educational events for area schools: The Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair and Water Festival.
The Urban Forestry Fair is typically held in the last full week of February in conjunction with Arbor Week. Since 1993 it has been held at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium and Linn Park for area 5th graders. Using hands-on activities, students learn about wood and wood products, how trees grow, pollution, wildlife, tree identification, parts of a tree, water quality and conservation, sawmills, orienteering, and tree planting by rotating through 11 different activity stations. For many children, this experience is the first exposure to the idea that ecosystems and forests exist in their immediate areas. Most children in Jefferson County now live in an urban or suburban environment. The Fair brings urban forestry and conservation to the students and their surroundings.
Around 700 fourth grade students attend the Jefferson County Water Festival each year. They participate in three hands-on classroom activities to learn about their drinking water and better understand where it comes from and how to keep it clean. When funding allows, they also see a conservation-themed magic show that ties together all the concepts presented in the classrooms. Edible Aquifer explains both the components of and water movement through an underground aquifer in a memorable manner. Fantastic Filtration offers great group learning with an applied experiment demonstrating water filtration like in a treatment facility. Lastly, Water Cycle Bracelets provide a visual diagram of how water continuously cycles through our environment.
If you would like to volunteer for either of these great events, please contact our office!
Jefferson County Conservation District also partners with many other organizations around the county to assist in providing outreach to both adult and student groups. Examples of these programs are rain barrel workshops, beginning farmers workshops, career exploration events, individual school events, Project Learning Tree workshops, professional development for teachers, and Arbor and Earth Day celebrations.