Kindergartners learn more about ag at Food for America day

Oliver Giannini bounced with excitement when he saw the variety of animals on display during Food for America Day, a program provided by Winters Mill High School's Future Farmers of America.

"I love goats," said Oliver, a kindergartner from Cranberry Station Elementary School in Westminster. "They are so cute."


Oliver was among 80 kindergartners who visited Winters Mill on Thursday to learn more about food and agriculture from the FFA students. He and his classmates enjoyed touching the tiny horns of Winters Mill junior Maria Berry's 6-week-old goats and mimicking their mild bleats.

"We're studying the science of living things. We talk about farm animals, so we've paired with the FFA to learn more," said Kathy Mead, a kindergarten teacher at Cranberry Station Elementary.

Winters Mill FFA advisor and agriculture teacher Diane Safar said 25 FFA members presented their animals at Food for America day as part of their supervised agricultural experience, or SAE, which is required before obtaining a Chapter FFA Degree for the United States National FFA Organization.

"The experience takes what they learn in the classroom and applies it to the animals the students raise," Safar said. "They are so proud of their animals."

The kindergarten students spent a lot of time asking about the animals' age, gender and hair color.

"I just want to know how old they are," kindergartner Kaylee Richardson said.

Winters Mill junior Ciana Crouse brought her Lionhead rabbit to teach the kindergartners about different breeds of animals. The Lionhead is a new breed of domestic rabbit with a woolly mane.

"We're trying to teach the kids more about agriculture," Crouse said. "We're showing them where food comes from."

Kayla Kowall, another Winters Mill junior and FFA member, introduced her Jersey dairy steer and Duroc pig to the students.

"We're exploring the different dairy products you can get and how dairy cows are different than beef," Kowall said.

The kindergarten students were divided into seven groups. At each station, the students were allowed to touch the animals and ask questions. They also completed craft projects like coloring a cow or constructing a rabbit.

"It's nice to see relationships being built between the high school and kindergarten students," Cranberry Station teacher Beth Lindsay said.