Producers team up to educate school kids

By |  May 18, 2012

Three companies are working together at a 74-acre quarry in Eden, Wis., to build positive community relations while educating children.

Staff from Eden Stone Co., Graymont Western Lime Co. and Michels Materials hosted six free, all-day elementary school tours at Marblehead Quarry. Graymont Western Lime owns the dolomitic limestone quarry.

More than 300 children got a bird’s-eye view of active quarry operations, including blasts, crushing, and tours of stone cutting and lime production. They also took part in several educational activities, each lead by a quarry professional. Hands-on activities included geology, road building, paleontology, environmental stewardship and an operational overview.

The field trips also highlight the unique relationship between the three operators. Michels uses the top layer to produce products for road building. Graymont Western Lime uses the second layer for lime products, primarily for steel production. Eden Stone uses the second layer for dimensional stone, which is cut for decorative usage.

“By working together, no rock is wasted,” said Kristen Waas, Michels Materials resources manager. “Each operator is dependent upon one another to expose the layers of rock each one uses.”

Field trips of this type started last spring with one school. The field trips drew rave reviews from students and teachers. More will be added next year as requests grow. Two schools have already signed up for 2013.

“It’s important for kids to learn what a quarry is, what it is here for and how its material is used,” said Amy Neste, Graymont Western Lime environmental compliance specialist. “Mining is an integral part of all of our lives. It’s important that they learn about it and its benefits when they are young so they understand why they are so essential.”

Marty Biller, Eden Stone Co.’s environmental compliance manager, agreed.

“Initially, the kids look forward to the tour because it gets them out of the classroom, but once they get out here and see what’s going on, they get a real appreciation for what we’re doing,” he said. “They learn more in one day than you can imagine. Plus, it’s not only the kids who are learning, but the teachers and parents, too.”

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