Monday, May 13, 2013

Field Trip Frenzy--Wind Mill Farm Visit

Agriculture Education has a unique 'hands-on' approach that draws many students to enroll in Agriculture classes.  However, sometimes learning goes beyond the 4 classroom walls and is extended to working businesses, farms, or industry-locations.  This past Friday, I had the pleasure (while serving as Schuylkill County Dairy Princess) to assist at Wind Mill Farm in Pine Grove as 30+ students enrolled in Agriculture Education at Pine Grove H.S. toured the 400-head Brown Swiss herd.

"Ronnie" Daubert demonstrates to a student how
to attach the milking unit to the cow's udder. Several
students took advantage of the opportunity to milk
a cow at Wind Mill Farm. 
Field trips allow students to make a connection between content learned in the classroom and real-life agriculture applications.  Students saw first-hand how cows are milked and even got a chance to try their own hand at milking under the guidance of some experienced farm owners.  This experience alone allowed students to 'learn by doing' and practice some of the skills they had discussed during the Dairy Science unit within their Animal Science course.

Another benefit of field trips is seeing possible agriculture occupations.  In the case of this visit to Wind Mill Farm, students heard how the Daubert family works with nutritionists, equipment salesmen, FSA employees, agriculture engineers, and many more individuals.  There are hundreds of occupations in agriculture that directly support production agriculturists.  Students heard about the value of some of these occupations to pique their interests and direct their future educational decisions.

Finally, this field trip allowed several generations of agriculture enthusiasts to interact and realize the importance of community connections.  Pine Grove Agriculture Education students have been visiting Wind Mill Farm for several years thanks to the support of the Daubert family.  Community members realize the value of having Agriculture Education in public high schools and readily offer support to the program to create valuable experiences for its students.  Many students said they had often driven by dairy farms, but had never seen the inner workings of the farm.  This field trip opened up lines of communication between the students and the farm family which otherwise would not have occurred if not for this field trip.  Agriculture Education is all about partnerships and creating opportunities for students to realize their potential.

Stay tuned for more entries about the power of Agriculture Education!


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