Students experience farm life

Published 11:42 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

Theo Rose, Tyra Cross, Jalen Duckett, Kiersten Holley and Isabella Grossman jump for joy Thursday during a field trip to a farm on Hare Road. All second-grade public school students in Suffolk visited the farm over two days this week.

Second-graders from Suffolk’s public elementary schools got a taste of where the food they eat comes from when they experienced life on a farm this week.

The Agricultural Extravaganza — also known as Farm Day — was held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Hare Road, not too far from where a new elementary school is being built on Pioneer Road.

The field trip’s two main organizers were Julie Mayor, the school district’s science lead elementary teacher, and Tara Williams, district manager with the Peanut Soil and Water Conservation District.

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Williams estimated about 1,150 second-graders visited the farm, with 60 volunteers from the school district, Virginia Tech, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Farm Bureau and other agencies and groups helping out.

“They rotate around 16 different stations with 10 minutes at each,” Williams said. Some topics covered included peanuts, crops, cotton, pigs and building better soil.

“We were going to have horses and alpacas, but they didn’t make it,” she said.

One station focused on how the Chesapeake Bay became polluted and ways it can be fixed.

Students experienced a “soil tunnel,” seeing what makes up the ground they walk on and that grows what they eat.

At another station they made necklaces from soybeans, which germinated by the end of the day after being moistened.

“They bring their lunch and have lunch out here on the farm,” Williams said. “It’s just a day on the farm so the kids can see what really goes on … and learn how to conserve our natural resources.”

For many students, she said, it was their first time on a farm, and they relished the chance to see in real life what they have been learning about in the classroom for the Standards of Learning.

“They learn about the animals in their SOLs,” Moyer added. “When they come they are waving on the bus and saying ‘We’re here!’ Sometimes we have a hard time getting them back on the bus.”

One student, Isabella Grassman, said the soybeans were her favorite. She had been on a farm before, she said, but it was “fun” to visit one with her classmates.