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Student Workshops

Kump Education Center hosts youth

The Inter-Mountain photos by Edgar Kelley Nanci Bross-Fregonara and her husband, Department of Natural Resources biologist Jim Fregonara, left, speak to campers from the Randolph County YMCA during a science workshop held at the Kump Education Center. The children learned about owls, birds and trees during the session.

ELKINS — The Kump Education Center recently hosted interactive workshops to help area children learn about the importance of science

The sessions included third- and fourth-grade students taking part in Randolph County’s Summer Sole Program. The center also hosted children from the Elkins YMCA’s Summer Camp for a pair of separate programs.

Close to 60 students who attend Third Ward, Midland and George Ward elementary schools and take part in the county’s Summer Sole Program were treated to hands-on learning activities that consisted of four different topics.

The first workshop topic was billed as Amazing Maze, which was designed to help the students understand what happens to a watershed in a city.

“The Amazing Maze topic taught them about the number of things in the city that pollute the water,” Heather Biola, Kump Education Center director, told The Inter-Mountain. “It allowed them to learn how pollution affects their water quality.”

The second topic was called “Incredible Journey’ and told the story of what happens to a molecule of water as it goes through the cycle.

“The kids played a game during the Incredible Journey topic where they rolled a dice that had the choices of where a molecule might go,” said Biola. “That allowed them to see things such as, if a molecule was in the ocean, there’s only one way it could get out, and that’s if it was in a cloud. It was a really good game that showed the children the way water moves around. It was really a good basic chemistry lesson.”

Another learning topic focused on rocks, with retired Davis & Elkins College professor Dr. Jim Van Gundy bringing in a collection of stones for the students to study.

“Dr. Van Gundy helped students to understand that West Virginia rocks are mainly sedimentary,” Biola said. “The kids really enjoyed learning everything Dr. Van Gundy had to show them. And at the end of the day they got to pick a pet rock.”

The final learning topic had to do with Kump Center’s own wetland. Students were able to go out on the center’s grounds and discover some of the plants that make up healthy wetlands.

“The students found that our wetland is on the iNaturalist site, so when they came back into the facility from exploring, they were able to get on the computer and see that the Kump Education Center’s wetland is certified,” Biola said. “Our wetland has about 30 to 40 native plants and they learned that the wetland is the liver for the river. The wetlands clean the water for the health of the river.”

The Elkins YMCA campers were treated to a pair of programs, oneabout owls and birds, and the other about trees. Jim Fregonara and Nanci Bross-Fregonara led both the courses.

“Nanci made an effort to show the students how the rings of trees work, and they were able to go out into the Kump property and study some of our trees with her,” said Biola.

Jim works for the Division of Natural Resources, while Nancy is a member of Elkins City Council. She is also on the city’s Tree Board.

“We believe that kids will enjoy science more if they are able to get outside and interact with nature,” Biola said. “Sometimes they are afraid of science, so learning this way and having fun with it keeps them more interested.”

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