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Kids' Adventure Sells Them On Stewardship

May 16, 2009 — On Friday, 17 kindergarteners got to go on a hiking adventure at South Gate Pond and witness its wealth of flora and fauna.
John Farchette of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources gave to even the smallest student on the hike information on how to take care of the St. Croix environment — their environment.
"This is our education outreach with the least amount of effort with the greatest impact," Farchette said. "This hike brings awareness to students about our natural resources and the park."
He made the hike an adventure. He told the students it was a special place and to take care of it. He told them it belongs to everyone. Farchette even told them practical things like staying away from poisonous manchineel trees.
Full of energy, the youngsters bounded along, having a hard time keeping it down to a fast walk.
At the first stop, Farchette had groups of five squeeze through a small opening in the bush to get a look at South Gate Pond and the many birds there. The little ones all waited patiently to see what was beyond the bush. They each got a chance to peer through Farchette's binoculars and look for pelicans, terns and yellow leg stilts. Farchette told the students 45 species of birds migrate and live on St. Croix.
"This gets them to appreciate the birds so they won't do anything to harm them," he told the Source.
The group checked out schools of mullet fish, and Farchette showed the signs of leather back turtles nesting on the beach. He pointed out the hermit crab in search of a new shell.
"The students see things but don't understand why it is important," said teacher Laurise Oliver. "Here they see and find out why it's important."
It was obvious someone got the message. One little girl, bringing up the rear, gave the whole account of the hike to her teacher.
"I don't want throw away plastic garbage because a little bird might eat it and die," she said.
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