Tunnel trailer offers glimpse under ground
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District unveiled the soil tunnel trailer at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama with representatives from the Soil and Water Conservation District, the museum and Wiregrass Resource Conservation Development (RC&D) Director James Currington and state Rep. Alan Boothe present for the special event.
Currington said the soil tunnel trailer has been a yearlong project, but it was well worth the wait.
“This trailer will be a valuable educational tool for students and of interest to people of all ages,” Currington said. “This is an opportunity to actually experience what it would be like if you could go underground and be a part of that environment.”
Currington said the soil tunnel trailer is the door to “another world.”
“When you walk into the tunnel you get the feeling that you are under the ground,” he said. “The wall is dirt and lizards and snakes and other animals that live under the ground are in their habitat. Roots from plants that are growing above ground are hanging down. You have to brush the roots back as you walk through or they will catch your hair.”
Profiles of various types of Alabama soil are on display in the tunnel and a short video enhances the underground experience.
“Underground, you can learn more about the soil and its important role in our environment,” Currington said.
The soil tunnel trailer was made possible through grant funds from the Wiregrass RC&D and the Choctawhatchee Pea Yellow River Watershed Management Authority.
Elizabeth Motes, Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District chair, expressed appreciation for the funds necessary to purchase the soil tunnel trailer.
“The trailer will provide opportunities for hands-on experiences for students and for the general public,” she said. “We greatly appreciate the support of these two environmentally focused agencies.”
Deborah Huggins-Davis, education specialist with the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District, said the trailer will be utilized in various ways throughout the county.
“We want to make this trailer available to as many people as possible,” she said. “It’s educational and it’s fun.”
Huggins said the soil tunnel trailer has been scheduled for the Peanut Butter Festival in Brundidge on Oct. 25.
At the time the trailer was introduced to the public, the Wiregrass RC&D also presented grant funding for erosion work at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama. The grant was administered through the Pike Soil and Water Conservation District.
Kari Barley, museum director, said the erosion that occurred was a threat to the foundation of a historic structure that is being renovated as well as the back portion of the museum grounds.
“We are very grateful to Wiregrass RC&D for the grant and to the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District for the in-kind services that provided a match for the grant,” she said.
Jeff Kervin, museum board chair, said by working together, agencies can accomplish many things. “Pike County will benefit greatly from the educational experiences the soil tunnel trailer will provide,” he said. “The erosion project will make it possible to continue to utilize the museum’s existing property for a variety of purposes.”