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Chatty Belle - The World's Largest Talking Cow

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 -- 8:39 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director

Today is Earth Day. The 40th Annual Earth Day, to be exact. The day has uniquely Wisconsin roots. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson wanted to find a way to increase environmental awareness and to promote urgently needed federal legislation to deal with pollution.

Area schools are getting in the act.

Granton is calling this day an “Earth Day Extravaganza”. Ag Instructor Cheryl Steinbach says the entire afternoon will be devoted to teaching kids about the environment and sustainability.

"They're going to be going around during the afternoon to six different stations," she says. "We're going to be teaching them about energy, forests, wildlife in Wisconsin, pollution, and then just nature appreciation."

At one station, kids will pedal a bike hooked up to a generator, which will power a light bulb.

Regardless of how people may feel about the global warming debate, Steinbach says sustainability is something worth teaching kids.

"It's all about protecting those wonderful things we have in our environment. We have a tremendous amount of natural resources that we're using up. We have to look at being able to sustain ourselves in years to come," Steinbach say.

The Extravaganza will culminate with the students cheering on 5 staff members who are walking from Granton to Marshfield to raise money for the school’s Green Team initiative, which includes a school garden, nature trails and the construction of a timber frame outdoor classroom.

Meanwhile, Neillsville is launching their own school garden this year.

It’s located just north of the administrative parking lot.

"The teachers are planning some of the garden spaces in the classroom. They're planting flowers, vegetables in the classroom to transplant in May," explains UW-Extension agent Julie Simek-Heggebo, who is helping organize the project.

The garden should provide some unique teaching opportunities.

"Kids are going to learn where their food comes from. We're going to learn more about the planting process, seeds, how to water, the whole process. And in the end, we're going to have a food product that we can use," she says.

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