• Jacksboro Elementary students learn about different types of foliage with Martha Hackley Salmon during their visit to Richards Ranch as part of the Kids on the Land program. The annual event provides a hands-on learning experience teaching children about the land that sustains them and how to protect it.

Kids on the land offers day of discovery for students

As the school year at Jacksboro Elementary School comes to a close, the eagerly awaited event for third, fourth and fifth graders is their annual trip to the Richards Ranch for the award-winning Kids on the Land (KOL) Program. For the sixth year in a row, the Hackley families hosted this three-day adventure which brings together the school system, the land owners, the community volunteers, KOL leaders, and professionals to teach elementary students about the place where they live and the importance of conserving resources for a sustainable future.

The program, headed by Peggy Maddox, is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program designed to teach children about the region in which they live and to explain how land owners take care of the land for now and for the future. For the past 13 years of its existence, the program has taught science through curiosity and inquiry to help students understand how people affect the land and start them thinking about taking care of the environment. Both Maddox and KOL co-developer and specialist Katherine Dickson were recently recognized as Teachers of the Year by the Soil and Water Conservations Districts of Texas for development of the program.

John Hackley told how he encountered a fourth-grade boy sitting quietly gazing across the flower-strewn grassland where several cows and their calves were grazing. “I asked him if he was enjoying the day,” Hackley said, “And he answered ‘Yes’ but added, ‘I’ve never been in the country before.’” For each day it was a day of discovery whether the students were learning to be entomologists or naturalists or conservationists.  

Assisted by volunteers from the community, specialists in various fields of science, and technology, the students participated in hands-on experiences in small groups as they rotated through the many activities. Martha Hackley Salmon, who coordinates the volunteers, emphasized the importance of the local volunteers by stating, “The implementation of this program would be impossible without these volunteers. They are amazing!”

To read more, see the May 27 edition of the Herald-Gazette.

Jacksboro Newspapers

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Jacksboro, Texas 76458

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