Childersburg students visit grist mill
Park Manager Ron Smith and students from Childersburg Elementary School stop for a moment along Talladega Creek after searching for animals along the nature trail at Kymulga Grist Mill and Covered Bridge Park Wednesday.
CHILDERSBURG — The woods at Kymulga Grist Mill and Covered Bridge Park were filled with squeals and laughter as third- and fourth-grade students from Childersburg Elementary School discovered animals in their natural habitat.

Park Manager Ron Smith, a taxidermist and retired game warden, placed the preserved animals along the nature trail so the students could find them. Students found beavers, minks, red and grey fox, snapping turtles, and many others.

The nature trail was just one of the activities the students participated in as part of their Project Based Learning unit on historical sites.

“Our Project Based Learning project is on historical sites in Alabama,” third-grade teacher Renee Dennis said. “Kymulga is right here next to the school.”

The students enjoyed a hayride, heard a history of the grist mill and covered bridge, bagged corn meal, and ate corn bread and pinto beans.

Counselor Cindy Smith said the students would incorporate the knowledge and pictures they gain during the field trip into their project, which is to be presented to the students’ parents April 25.

Third-graders Grace Wildsmith and Canaan Johnson said they enjoyed the day in the park and were learning several things. Canaan said he was going to take the bag of corn meal and the recipe he received and give it to his grandmother so she could cook cornbread.

Both said they would like to go back to the park.

Fourth-grader Alexis Hardy said she had fun making butter and she learned that people who lived in the country found ways to survive.

On hand to help were park caretaker Bonnie Bryant and volunteers Shirley Hamilton, Beth Maxwell and Jane Allen.

Allen said she volunteered to work at the mill when Childersburg Chamber of Commerce president George Limbaugh said he was determined to save the mill. She has volunteered since 1985.

“George would be so proud,” Allen said. “He worked so hard to get things going, but couldn’t get any help.”

Smith said this was the first event the mill has hosted for students and it was planned to be a conservational, historical and educational opportunity of which he hopes other schools will take advantage.

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© 2013