Fifth-graders attend 'Toes in the Toe'
SPRUCE PINE – More than 50 Mitchell County fifth-graders got a firsthand look at the outdoors this past week during the Toe River Watershed Partnership’s Toes in the Toe Watershed Discovery Festival at Riverside Park.
Students attended the festival for one day, rotating through a series of stations offering hands-on opportunities to learn about everything from art to aquatic insects.
Festival volunteers, which included Mitchell High School FFA students, led groups of fifth-graders through five sessions: Our Water, Our Watershed; Fantastic Fish; Water Bug Safari; Composting and Gardening; and Exploring Nature Through Art.
Two of the sessions, Fantastic Fish and Water Bug Safari, usually involve wading in the river, but Toe River Watershed Partnership Executive Director Starli McDowell said the water was too high this year.
Mitchell High School FFA Adviser Chad Huggins said students Shannon Hobson, Tucker Hobson, Savanna Burleson, Shelbi Stewart, Destiny Hart and Elijah Smith helped with this year’s festival.
“We were asked and we agreed to do it,” Huggins said. “It’s not only a learning experience, but it’s a chance for some of our FFA students to come out of their shells a little.”
Penland School of Crafts Manager of Community Collaboration Stacey Lane helped students create river-related artwork for a makeshift boat with which people can take pictures.
Partners in the festival were Blue Ridge RC&D, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, River Link, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and Penland School of Crafts.