Fritsch Elementary fourth-graders explore silver mine

Evan Cass, a fourth-grader at Fritsch Elementary School, climbed inside a 6-foot tire during a field trip to the Coer Rochester silver mine in Lovelock.

"It was taller than my teacher," Cass said. "It was fun because that doesn't happen every day."

Maureen Spofford and Clay Soderstrom took their fourth-grade students Monday for their third annual tour of the mine as part of the schools-to-careers program and Nevada history.

Spofford said the students were overwhelmed by the immense size of the equipment and of the mine itself.

"They wanted to go inside the mine," she said. "What they didn't understand is that they were in the mine. The entire inside of the mountain was the mine."

Soderstrom said the tour teaches a variety of subjects.

"It hits all of our academic areas," he said. "We're seeing science, math and English - communication is very big up there."

Katie Huffman, 10, said she learned more by going to the mine rather than just learning about it in class.

"You actually know what you're seeing," she said. "You can make your own opinion of it."

The tour guides walked the students through the process of mining silver from start to finish. The end product was 300-pound bars of silver.

"It was fun to see the silver bars," said Garry Grow, 10. "Nevada is the Silver State."

Spofford said they have toured the mine three years because of the educational value and because mine officials always welcome them back. The students rode to the mine in charter Frontier buses paid by the school-to-careers program and Landmark Homes.

"They have treated us very well," she said. "They really go out of their way to accommodate us."

Soderstrom said it is interesting to watch the progression of the mine over the years.

"It was neat this year to see how it had changed," he said. "They put the west side of the mountain back together while they're tearing the east side down."

The students wrote thank-you cards Wednesday.

"We need to say thank-you so they know that we appreciate their time," said Ruby Herman, 9.


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