Second graders from Great Bend and the surrounding communities took a field trip Wednesday to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center.
The annual Wetlands Education Day helps children learn all about the Cheyenne Bottoms wetlands, said KWEC Educator Pam Martin.
“This program is so much fun for the children and very important,” Martin said.
Seven stations were set up to show how the ecosystem works at Cheyenne Bottoms, what draws the animals that live there to the area and what important roles they play within the system.
“My station is designed to teach the children about the food chain at the Cheyenne Bottoms,” Martin said. “The children were dressed up as different animals and plants that live in the bottoms and it taught them the order of the food chain.”
Another station was designed as an obstacle course, demonstrating the hazards that migrating birds to the Cheyenne Bottoms face on the long journey to the area from all over the country.
“These stations are all about educating the children,” volunteer Marvin Hensley said. “The kids really get to learn about something very special that is in their own backyard.”
Approximately 360 second-grade students visited the KWEC Wednesday. The students were broken into groups and every 20 minutes they visited another station.
About KWEC and Cheyenne Bottoms
The Kansas Wetlands Education Center is dedicated to educating the public about wetland communities, their importance, and the need for conservation and restoration, with emphasis on Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Cheyenne Bottoms is a globally important stopover for thousands of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl; the site also supports other threatened or endangered birds during nesting, staging or wintering periods.
Up to 600,000 shorebirds from at least 39 species visit the site during spring migration, and another 200,000 birds use the area in autumn. It has been estimated that 45 percent of all migratory shorebirds nesting in North America stage at Cheyenne Bottoms, including more than 90 percent of the continent’s populations of Wilson’s Phalarope, Long-billed Dowitcher, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, and Stilt Sandpiper.
For more information about Cheyenne Bottoms or the Kansas Wetlands Education Center call the KWEC’s toll-free telephone number, 877-243-9268.