Chase Howard looks for microorganisms in a jar of wastewater held by Mark Campbell, an operator at the Hartselle Waste Treatment Plant. | Clif Knight
Chase Howard looks for microorganisms in a jar of wastewater held by Mark Campbell, an operator at the Hartselle Waste Treatment Plant. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

Earth Day in E.A.R.T.H. Park

Published 12:33pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

HJHS sixth graders find answers to science questions using Hartselle park

Sixth grade students at Hartselle Junior High School traded their science classroom for E.A.R.T.H. Park on Thursday as the participated in an Earth Day Program sponsored by Hartselle Beautification Association.

“This is very much an outdoor classroom,” said HJHS science teacher Debbie Smith. “We talk about wetlands, point and non-point pollution and soil erosion in class. Now the students get to see firsthand what is being done to make our environment safe.

“The people who sponsor and conduct this program are so good to volunteer their time and talents for the benefit of our students. We greatly appreciate what they do.”

Students were bused to the park in groups of 45 and spent about 11 minutes at each of three demonstration stations. They received hands-on knowledge of wastewater treatment, wetlands and recycling.

McAbee shared some moneymaking information about recycling with the students.

“You can sell scrap copper to a recycler for $1.75 per pound,” he said as he held up a small bowl filled with plumbing fixtures and other household items. “You’d be amazed at how much of this stuff you can collect and save in a year’s time.”

He added, “When I was a kid, you could get two cents for every Coke bottle you took back to the store. If you had five empty bottles, you could trade them in for a full bottle of Coke.”

Campbell and Sparkman used a video to show students how the city’s wastewater treatment plant processes wastewater and returns it to Flint Creek as a clear liquid.

Samples of the water in different stages of treatment were provided for students to examine microorganisms at work inside.

Stidham and Mitchell explained how the park’s two man-made wetlands remove pollutants from water that is pumped into them from Shorts Branch.

Presenters were HU waste treatment plant operators Slade Sparkman and Mark Campbell, Billy McAbee and Summer Stidham and Katherine Mitchell, representing the Morgan County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Each student received a green “Earth Day” T-shirt and each group was treated to a soft drink and cookies before returning to school.

“We like to see the park being put to uses like this,” said Carolyn Wallace, HBA director.

“It gives encouragement to those of us who work diligently to maintain the park and make it a source of community pride.”

She recognized Hartselle Rotary Club, Morgan County Environmental Education Foundation, Hartselle Utilities, TVA, Wolfe Printing and the Flint Creek Watershed as co-sponsors of the program.

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