ABBEVILLE — The Vermilion Parish School Board approved having their Finance Committee try to find funding to support the Vermilion Soil and Water Conservation District’s “Conservation Classroom” portable classroom trailer.
The action came after a presentation by conservation district teacher and spokesman Mitzi Dorman and Dr. Ernest Girouard, coordinator of the LSU AgCenter, who also serves as president of the district.
Dorman said the $40,000 portable classroom was funded entirely by grants and donations with the goal of benefiting Vermilion students as well as students statewide.
She said the district originally began looking for a smaller trailer to use as a classroom, but ended up with the 41-foot model after receiving support from many parish agencies, including 4-H, the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Farm Bureau and others.
Included within the mobile classroom are interactive teaching materials, experiments and scientific equipment focusing on farms, air, water, soil and recycling with the parish 4-H also providing teachers when the classroom is taken to schools or special events such as Earth Day celebrations.
The trailer is set up to teach kindergartners through college students at no cost to schools or parishes. Lessons range from how to avoid soil erosion and water pollution to identifying animals natural to Louisiana and avoiding the overgrazing of lands to prevent erosion.
Dorman said the hands-on teaching approach of the classroom is already proving to be a success.
“It is important to have the kids interacting,” she said. “It is already working and everything is reflective of what it takes to have clean, healthy soil and water.
“Soil erosion is very special to us because we were set up following the Dust Bowl,” Dorman said.
She said the trailer was completed in April and has already attended Earth Day at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but it will be officially introduced to the public Sept. 14 during a food drive at the district office, 3221 Veteran Memorial Drive in Abbeville.