This Wednesday and Thursday almost 2,000 third graders from Poudre Valley School District were brought to Colorado State University’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center (ARDEC) to attend Ag Adventure Day. The event is run by the College of Agricultural Students and aims to provide hands-on lessons about agriculture.
The third graders spent time at six different learning centers working on standards-based activities including topics like dairy/beef, sheep/wool, grain crops, food crops, soil/water, farm safety and equine sciences. Each spent about 20 minuets at each station, taking two hours altogether. This year, 72 different classrooms were in attendance.
One learning center was a rain simulator where students learned about erosion and how it affects soil. They were also taught about different soil layers and textures. At the sheep/wool center, students got to experience a sheep sheering and spinning wool. Cam the Ram also made an appearance at the station.
At another learning center students got to explore a fistulated steer. This is a steer with an opening cut into its stomach. Students were able to look in and see the inner workings of the steer. They were also taught about cattle nutrition and breeds.
There was a lesson on farm-to-plate that taught the journey of fruits, vegetables and meat to the dinner table. This included a section on world hunger. The farm safety center ran over a dummy with a mower to demonstrate the dangers of equipment and taught the importance of paying attention and wearing the right clothing.
The equine leaning center students were taught how to measure a horse and the different breeds. Students were also given stick horses and recreated the Pony Express and learned facts about it. There was also a new center this year that highlighted new technologies to make agriculture more efficient.
This program is planned by a committee of eight students who coordinate the event including the arranging facilities, working with CSU student volunteers, fund raising, curriculum development, publicity and contacting with the Poudre Valley schools.
Different student agriculture clubs are responsible for each learning center and the curriculum. These clubs are asked to submit proposal for the content they with to cover. Some of the clubs that worked this year include Agronomy Club, Horticulture Club, Agribusiness Association, Sigma Alpha, Alpha Gamma Rho, FarmHouse and more. The program seeks to have a ratio of about four to one third graders to CSU students.
Dr. Marshal Frasier, an Agricultural and Resource Economics Professor at CSU, oversaw the event.
“We’ve got a really highly structured event,” Frasier said in an interview for Colorado Ag Today.