Earth Day lessons 2013.04.24

Written by David Green.

earth.mapsp.earth.kayKay Holubik, a resource technician with the Lenawee Conversation District office, had an Earth Day question Monday for Morenci sixth grade students.

Could anyone think of any problems associated with Lake Erie?

“It’s dirty,” a few students were quick to answer.

Another came up with the problem that’s made the news often in recent years: algal blooms.

An excess of nutrients—chiefly from farm fields, but with additional phosphorus from lawn fertilizer and malfunctioning sewer systems—is causing enormous growth in algae. It’s so extensive, Holubik said, that it can be seen from space.

It’s not the first time that Lake Erie has faced environmental challenges. In the 1970s, its plight even made the Dr. Suess book, “The Lorax.”

Lake Erie is the 12th largest body of fresh water in the world, she said, and it’s the most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes. About half of all the wildlife associated with the Great Lakes is found in Lake Erie.

Algae is a natural part of the lakes, but excess nutrients lead to an explosion in the population of the organisms. That, in turn, produces a toxin that kills fish and birds which adversely effects fishing and tourism. Water treatment costs also rise.

Holubik, along with colleague Makena Schultz, explained her agency’s role in helping keep soil in place.

The Conservation District emphasizes the use of field residue and cover crops rather than leaving soil bare. Filter strips along the edges of fields help keep soil in place rather than washing into streams.

Nutrient management emphasizes the proper use of fertilizer such as manure to prevent an excess from washing off. Proper storage of chemicals will help keep groundwater clean.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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