On September 20, Katherine Dickson and her family gave 4th graders from Roscoe, Highland and Blackwell the opportunity to participate in the Kids on the Land (KOL) program at the 69 Ranch near Maryneal, in which Ms. Dickson owns the land. Peggy Maddox, former SISD SEEK teacher and now Director of Kids of the Land program for Holistic Management International developed the program which provides a day of hands-on activities to help students reconnect to the land where they live.
The program at the 69 Ranch was called NCI--Nolan County Investigation. Students began the day by creating a timeline of historical events of Nolan County and the Rolling Plains eco-region. The timeline took the students from 10,000 years ago to the present. The rest of the day was spent in different activities that included learning about native plants on the walking trail along the head waters of Sweetwater Creek; making wildflower seed balls after learning how nature disperses seeds; creating Native American talking sticks; and doing the work of a naturalist by creating nature journals. The day ended with songs led by Charlie Davis.
Volunteers had gathered the day before at the 69 Ranch to plan for the day. Volunteers included Mandi Ligon and Jaime Tankersly from NRCS, Burr Williams of Sibley Nature Center in Midland, Sandy Light, Regina McVey, Susan Dent and Kathy Hoskins of Maryneal, Dalton and Gretchen Maddox of Colorado City, Karen McGinnis from San Angelo, Charlie and Susie Davis from Mulberry Canyon, and Dr. Paul Martin from Seguin. Special participants from Dallas were Dickson's daughter and grandson, Maria and Anthony Parigi, friends Mimi and Meg Wilson, and Susan Delagarza.
"Kathy and her late husband, Temple, have created an oasis at the 69 Ranch headquarters. Through the years, they have given back to the community in many ways and this KOL day was just a continuation of that commitment," stated Peggy Maddox. "The KOL program began in the Trans-Pecos Region of Texas where my husband, Joe, and I managed Holistic Management International's Learning Site in Crockett County. We have expanded the program for students in Schleicher County, Jack County and now to 69 Ranch in Nolan County."
"KOL is unique among environmental programs because it is designed to teach children about their place where they live, using the property of local land stewards," stated Maddox, "and since children have an innate need to be in nature and nature needs a new generation who are reconnected to the land to take us to a more sustainable future, we hope to see the program continue to evolve as it adapts to meet new environments." Since its inception in 2003, over 2400 students have been participating in the program.
Holistic Management International, based in Alberquerque, New Mexico, is a non-profit organization which was a mission to education people to manage land for a sustainable future. For more information on this organization and on the Kids on the Land program, visit their website at www.holisticmanagement.org.