Katara Simmons/News-Sun Students get some hands-on learning Thursday while digging into a variety of grains during Ag-Venture. Third graders from across the county spent a day this week learning about all things agriculture.
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published: Friday, November 01, 2013
Ag-Venture educates students through fun, hands-on experience
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- Yellow, green and red hats moved from station to station Thursday morning eager to learn something new during the final day of the annual county-wide learning program Ag-Venture.
The last batch of third graders filled the grounds at the Highlands County Fair and Convention Center to learn about everything from milking dairy cows to bees. Students raised their hands with excitement when asked by Avon Park Bombing Range Forester Kurt Olsen to identify the many creatures in his slideshow at the Forestry station.
Students shouted out answers for cool prizes including turkey feathers and tree cookies after each slide was presented.
"Raccoon. A fawn. Baby alligators," students yelled.
The forestry station taught students all about vegetation in Central Florida and the many methods of keeping it under control and useful to plants, animals and humans. Olsen discussed control burns at the Bombing Range and how the plants, mainly pine trees, are replanted every few years. Olsen discussed the many types products tree sap is used in, most of which were a surprise to the students.
"Orange soda, gum, lipstick, glue, and nail polish. There's a lot of things. Makes you want to quit drinking orange soda now doesn't it?" Olsen asked.
The kids replied with a very loud "yes."
Over at the dairy station, Bishop Dairy owner Susie Bishop explained the process for getting milk from the dairy cows to the grocery store shelves to the students. The dairy station involved "churning" heavy cream into butter, milking artificial cows and visiting two-week-old calves as they grazed in a small pen at the station.
"Those calves will be dairy cows one day," Bishop said to the students.
Ag-Venture continues to be an irreplaceable part of the Highlands County School District. Each year nearly 1,200 third graders get a hands-on experience of the life of agriculture that occurs in their very community. Volunteers make the event possible each year and leave a lasting impression on the young minds that gain so much from the academic experience.
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