Stucky carries forward conservation awareness
When Brian Stucky of Goessel receives the “Teacher of the Year” award from Marion County Conservation District on Feb. 16, he might be more introspective about the way conservation played an important role in his life, than about the actual 34 years of conservation poster entries he has overseen as an art teacher.
“I think conservation has always been important,” Stucky said. “But it seems to get more important every year.”
Stucky grew up on a farm in western Harvey County where he was influenced by his father about the importance of taking care of the earth.
“We would go out and look at the stars and he would say, ‘Other people have lived on this land thousands of years before us, we are only here a short time so it is up to us to take good care of the land and leave it in better shape than we found it,” Stucky said.
When Stucky began encouraging his art students to enter the Marion County conservation poster contest 34 years ago, he saw it as a perfect graphic design project.
“It combines words and pictures to convey an important message,” he said. “For me, it was a way to carry forward the reverence for the land my dad taught me, and it still remains relevant today.”
Stucky said he spends time each fall with his art students from kindergarten through fifth grade discussing current environmental issues, before turning them loose to create a conservation poster.
“There doesn’t have to be a right or wrong view about things,” he said. “I want kids to think about it and come up with something that means something to them. It always makes for good class time discussions.”
Issues discussed in recent years include trash disposal, water resources, and the pros and cons of hunting.
“Every year we learn that conservation isn’t just for farmers, it is for everyone,” he said. “Just this past fall we had the drought and second level water warnings in town for Goessel residents. We discussed how important it was for everyone to be careful so we all can have enough water.”
Stucky keeps busy teaching art at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels at Goessel. In addition to traditional art mediums of drawing and painting, he teaches photo imaging, graphic design, ceramics, and sculpture.
For high school students at Goessel he offers advanced art class time to help seniors prepare college portfolios.
“I really get excited to see them go off and use what they’ve learned here to earn college scholarships,” he said.
The Marion County conservation board will award Stucky for his years of service in teaching children about the value of conservation at the annual district banquet Feb. 16 at Eastmoor United Methodist Church in Marion. Several other Marion county residents will receive conservation awards, and poster contest winners will be recognized.
The Marion County Conservation District invites the public to make banquet reservations by contacting Betty Richmond before Feb. 7 at (620) 382-3520.