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Bees and bats and butterflies, oh my!
4-H Junior Master Gardeners Day Camp opens students' eyes to nature
Delia Evans proudly presents her bat masterpiece.

Society is always at risk of falling prey to the claws of ignorance. Some say it’s our ethical responsibility to educate others in order to prevent this catastrophe.
The 4-H Junior Master Gardeners Day Camp strived to do just that by educating young students on the importance of various creatures. Through this three-day camp, held Wednesday through Friday, students received the opportunity to learn about the benefits and essential roles of bees, bats, and butterflies in the ecosystem.
The students were immersed in environmental studies through guest speakers, interactive activities, crafts, and lectures.
Beginning at 8 a.m., the students first heard from a relevant guest speaker depending on the day’s chosen topic of study. The students were then divided into three different stations that further elaborated on a specific aspect of the creature. Station one was engineered to mimic a typical classroom setting. Station two covered the arts and crafts component of the lessons. Station three was extremely hands-on and allowed the kids themselves to build something grand.  
Day one was entirely dedicated to the vitality of bees. The guest speaker was Caleb Graves with the Highland Rim Beekeepers Association. He entertained and informed his audience through a live demonstration of a transparent beehive.
Students learned about bee pollination, communication, and navigation. The dwindling number in bee population was also brought to the kid’s attention. With Tonya Wilkinson from “Keep Coffee County Beautiful” the students created a flower craft out of recycled plastic bottles.
Day two was devoted to bats. Guest speaker Cory Holliday with the Tennessee Nature Conservancy educated the young listeners about the endangered species of bats and the main threats to their lives.
Subsequently in station one, Ms. Dale, a newly added intern, taught the children about the many benefits bats provide for the environment and their unique form of communication: echolocation. Through physical, interactive activities, the kids were able to fully grasp bats’ sensing techniques.
Station two helped the kids make their own, personalized bat craft. While at station three, the students constructed individualized bat houses they could each take home and employ in their very own backyard.
Day three taught the children all about butterflies. Each station provided the students a more in-depth perspective of various butterfly components. They learned to differentiate between moths and butterflies, and designed their own butterfly gardens.
The educational camp concluded its three-day sessions with the inauguration of a restored dedicated wildflower garden on the Hickory Creek nature trail. The students prepared seed bombs that they later planted on the wildflower patch, all in hopes the seeds will flourish into beautiful flowers and one day provide food and shelter to many local butterflies.