Robinson, Ill.,
06
October
2014
|
01:47 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

Giving Kids a Day of Nature

Summary

About 130 second-graders from Crawford County, Ill., schools experienced a little one-on-one with nature at the Neil Pit Nature Day, held by the Marathon Petroleum Company refinery in Robinson, Ill. The refinery’s Committee for Awareness and Responsibility for Environmental Stewardship has organized the event for the past two years.

About 130 second-graders from Crawford County, Ill., schools experienced a little one-on-one with nature at the Neil Pit Nature Day, held by the Marathon Petroleum Company refinery in Robinson, Ill. The refinery’s Committee for Awareness and Responsibility for Environmental Stewardship has organized the event for the past two years.

The students rotated through six stations. At the Bee Station, staffed by MPC employees who also are professional beekeepers, students were given the opportunity to taste honey straight from the comb and try on beekeeping personal-protection equipment. At the Tree Station, students learned how to identify trees and measure them to determine their ages. Then it was off to the Flower Power Station, where the students dissected flowers and learned flower science.

During the nature walk, hosted by Environmental Safety and Security Manager Chris Staats, the students logged all the wildlife items they saw in a journal. “There were animal pellets, deer horns and wild turkey feathers on the ground,” notes MPC Human Resources Consultant Chase Keffer. “We explained what they were and why animals lose their horns and feathers.”

At the Solar/Pedal Power Station, students enjoyed hands-on and feet-on experiences. “We rigged up two bicycles to generate power for a popcorn machine,” explains Keffer. “The students got to watch the popcorn pop and then eat it.”

Students were also able to take home a souvenir from their visit – flowers they planted in cups they hand-decorated. After a sack lunch, also courtesy of the refinery, they boarded their buses and headed back to school.

“Neil Pit is an 80-acre piece of property located about 7 miles from the refinery that was a working gravel pit until purchased by the refinery in the 1950s,” says Keffer. “In 2006, we earned certification for the property from the Wildlife Habitat Council, and in 2007 we earned the WHC Upland Wildlife Management Award.

“The main purpose of Neil Pit Conservation Day is to contribute to the community as a whole,” he adds. “It is an invaluable way for kids to learn – and they had a blast.”