Third- through fifth-grade public and private school students visited the Springs Coast Environmental Center for the Hernando County Elementary Science Fair from April 28-30. Besides talking with judges, the students planted trees and had a chance to learn about manatees. The top five science fair projects at each grade level at each school were invited to the science center and were judged on displays, notebooks and interviews. The fair was coordinated by Hernando County Elementary Science Fair director Matthew Goldrick.
When their projects weren't being judged, the students did their part to celebrate Arbor Day. They planted a tree for each school.
Cheryl Paradis, Springs Coast Environmental Center teacher on special assignment, chose a variety of trees, including magnolia and Florida holly. She used vouchers provided by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association to obtain the trees at a local nursery.
After planting, trees were marked with square wooden stakes that had each school's name burned into the end. The trees will be monitored for growth, incorporating math into the environmental lesson, Paradis said.
If they weren't being judged or planting trees, some students had the opportunity to hear volunteer speaker Joyce Paisner talk about manatees. Paisner volunteers at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.