APES students take a trip to Hutchinson salt mine

Ayana Jones, Staff Writer

Advanced Placement Environmental Science students experienced an active salt mine on a field trip last week.

After in-class discussions about mining, science teacher Clancey Livingston took the group to the Hutchinson mine to look at different exhibits, see the process of mining and more.

“We went to an active salt mine in Hutchinson to talk about techniques and learn about the process,” Livingston said.

The mine is 650 feet underground and the class was able to go down to experience the mine by looking at different exhibits, see the process of mining and more. 

“It was very informative,” senior Akira Culbertson said. “We learned all about how they blast down walls, and we also [got to] go on a tramp and ride around in the mine, and they turned off all the lights and we were in pitch black [darkness] and you couldn’t see anything, and it was really cool, just like completely devoid of all your senses.”

Students who went really enjoyed the experience.

“I had a really good time,” senior Ronan Tanona said. “It was a lot of fun learning about the processes used to mine everything, the miners themselves and their stories.”

The class also had planned to go to a paper mill but they were shut down.

“It’s not something that you go to all the time, it’s definitely a change [of] pace,” sophomore Ari Anell said.

Students who were on the field trip learned many interesting things.

“I learned about these giant reserves of salt and how we [go] about getting those for our everyday use,” Tanona said.

Culbertson also went into detail about some of the things they found interesting.

“How salt is mined in general and also about air circulation mineshaft,” Culbertson said. “They actually have to [use] different air pathways to make sure that if any air is contaminated they can close off the section and it won’t spread throughout the entire mine.”

The salt mines provided students the opportunity to learn more than the APES class content offers.

“Even though we didn’t talk about salt mining in class specifically, … those techniques are really similar to some other techniques, so I hope they understand how those processes transfer and how they’re similar,” Livingston said.