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Science at Saunders Springs

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HCS gifted students visit Radcliff nature preserve for hands-on lessons

By Kelly Cantrall

Scientifically-minded middle schoolers brought their classroom to the bottom of Saunders Springs on Tuesday to get a first-hand look at ecosystems.

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Gifted science students in Hardin County Schools took part in a field trip to the Radcliff nature preserve where they learned about caves, wildlife, plants and the water supply. The trip is part of a new series in the gifted and talented program, said Teresa Morgan, director of elementary education.

“We’re hoping to do one of these trips with each of our areas of gifted and talented,” Morgan said.

The students rotated through six stations that were led by representatives from community organizations such as Hardin County Water District No. 1 and the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service.

Gifted and talented program teacher Toni Baldwin said she hoped the effort would allow students to find specific interests in the area in which they are gifted.

“I think it’s awesome to see the application, the connections they’re making,” Baldwin said.

Austin Hale, an eighth-grader at Bluegrass Middle School, said he liked learning about the instructors’ careers.

“We actually get to experience it for ourselves,” Hale said.

Hale enjoyed the lesson on invasive plant species taught by Amy Aldenderfer of the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service. Aldenderfer discussed differences between native, exotic and invasive species and invited students to identify their own invasive species in the area.
It’s good for the kids “seeing them out in the open and making those bigger connections,” she said.
Caitlin Kowalski, an eighth-grader at J.T. Alton Middle School, enjoyed spending time outside the walls of the school building.

“I like it better because it’s more hands-on and it’s not just sitting in class reading out of a book,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.