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Cool Runnings: Students get hands-on experience

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Franklin County Times
Students from across the county had the opportunity to learn about soils, wildlife, fish and archeology yesterday as they took part in this year's Cool Runnings program.
Watershed Coordinator Robert Clement said that approximately 130 students participate in the event annually, and that even though the numbers show that they are serving a large number of students, there are only about 15 to 20 students from each school able to attend.
"I always plan on having about 150 people here every year," Clement said. "I wish we could have more students here, but in order to do that we need more funding."
Clement added that teachers tell him about having to turn students away because of lack of room in the program.
He said that he hopes to begin working on more funding and sponsors so more students can participate and benefit from the event.
Each school took turns learning about different aspects of our natural resources, including invertebrates, fish, soils and wildlife. Each session lasted about 30 minutes.
Students from Cherokee, East Franklin, Belgreen, Phil Campbell, Tharptown, Vina and Red Bay participate in the event annually.
"Most of students here are high school students, but we do have one junior high school here," Clement said.
Before returning to school, the students ate lunch at Sloss Lake Park in Russellville, and took a picture as participants of this year's event.
Cool Runnings is sponsored by ADEM, Alabama Power, Bank Independent, the Cattlemen's Association, Community Spirit Bank, Colbert County SWCD, Franklin County SWCD, the Franklin County Extension Service, Johnny Mack Morrow, Northwest Alabama RC&D, NRCS, Southeastern Anthropological Institute and TVA.
"We want to thank all our sponsors because without them none of this would be possible," Clement said.

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