Lena, Illinois – On Friday, October 16, 2015, the Le-Win 8th graders participated in a field trip to enhance the learning they have been doing in their science classes.
Their day began with a tour of the Adkins Energy LLC ethanol production plant in Lena, IL. While there, the students were able to tour the new biodiesel operation that was put in place a year ago. The 8th graders learned that this fuel is sold to local markets. This facility allows the plant to be even more energy efficient by using some of their unused product from the ethanol production. Students also learned about the approximately 50 million gallons of ethanol that the plant produces on a yearly basis. It was a surprise to learn just how many semi-trucks enter and exit the facility daily. Many are hauling in corn for the 24 hour production of ethanol, while others are loading the unused portions of the corn product left over from the ethanol production to be used as feed by area farmers.
After leaving the ethanol plant the students headed to Brigham Park near Blue Mounds, WI for lunch. This park sits high upon the Blue Mounds and was named for the Brigham family who originally owned the land where the Cave of the Mounds Cave exists.
The students then traveled to the Cave of the Mounds Cave where they were given a tour of the caves. They learned that the cave only has one entrance, so there are no animals that may get into the cave. They also learned that the two main threats to the cave formations are oils from human hands and algae that can grow with light and particles brought in on shoes. Therefore, the staff keeps lights off in the cave until the groups they are touring enter specific sections. This gives the cave a more mysterious feel because the students were unable to see what was coming ahead.
The students returned to school just in time to prepare to leave for the day. They had a great time exploring through the cave and learning about the various formations.
The 8th graders would like to thank the Lena-Winslow Education Foundation for their contribution to make this trip possible.