Cranberry Station Elementary School kindergartners get a hands-on agriculture experience

Winters Mill FFA students show Cranberry Station Elementary where their food comes from. (Michel Elben / Carroll County Times)

Smiling broadly, Cranberry Station Elementary School kindergartner Mikayla Tyler seemed to enjoy petting a 3-week-old piglet during the Winters Mill High School FFA's annual Food for America Day on Tuesday morning. FFA students spent the morning showing animals, plants, grains and tractors to Cranberry Station kindergartners to teach them about agriculture.

"I like its squiggly tail and when it oinks," Mikayla said.


According to Winters Mill FFA adviser and agriculture instructor Diane Safar, the day is an FFA community service project. FFA is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership. The organization has participated in the event for 15 years.

"It teaches the kids where their food comes from and teaches the FFA students presentation skills," Safar said.


Winters Mill FFA President Kait Beardsley, a senior at the school, said pairs of FFA members organized different arts and crafts activities with the students.

"We're teaching the kids about the different foods we eat every day in America," Beardsley said. "It's a good way to represent what we love — animals and ag — and hopefully it will make kids want to pursue ag careers when they get older."

Cranberry Station Elementary teacher Heidi Neske said the day "gives the students an opportunity to see where their food comes from and how important farmers are to our world."

"Without farmers, we wouldn't have the milk we drink, the food we eat or the ingredients we need to bake and cook," she said.

Neske said the bonus of the day was "that the activities help students with their vocabulary."

"They just learned the word ingredient, and now they're able to see what it is in real life. It helps them make a connection," Neske said.

Teacher Courtney Sherdel said the day "helps them appreciate local farmers."

"It helps the kids to understand the work and labor that goes into giving them the food they eat every day," Sherdel said.

Winters Mill sophomore Chloe Dustin showed students her 3-week-old pig.

"I love animals, and it's fun to teach people about them," Chloe said. "I hope it helps them have an interest in animals and I want to teach them not to be scared of them."

Winters Mill freshman Colby Smith showed his 3-month-old Jersey calf to the students

"I'm teaching the kids about dairy cows and what comes from them, like milk and cheese," Colby said. "It's fun and something they don't get to see every day."


The kindergartners seemed to learn a lot.

"He taught me that cows eat grains," William Kuhn said of Colby.

"I learned that different color eggs come from different kinds of chickens," said Parker Heim said at the egg station.

"I learned all bunnies are different colors and they feel soft," said Evlein Espinoza at the rabbit station.

"Goats make milk, but I already knew that," said Jacob Marriott at the goat station.

After the lamb station, kindergartner Remi Bowers said "my favorite part was the lamb and the tractors. He was taking little nibbles of my finger."

Remi's mother, Niki Brauning, chaperoned the trip and said she appreciated that "they have lots of activities and cute baby animals they can pet."

"They've kept them interested for more than five minutes, which is rare for their age, and that's how I know they like it," Brauning said.




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