This week, 1,500 grade school students participated in Ag Days at the Agriculture Community Center for Environmental Learning Lab (ACCELL) Farm.
Elkhart Community schools agriculture program is growing by leaps and bounds. Ag Days is not only an extension of what the students study in their classrooms, but also an opportunity for the students to experience hands-on agriculture on a real farm.
Cyndy Keeling, director of agriculture curriculum, is excited to get the students out of the classroom and into the hands on learning environment. She says, “Students are really excited to be here, being the end of the year it is great opportunity to take the learning outside. Today, students planted pumpkins in the field. The same students will return to harvest them in the fall.”
Students who visit the ACCELL farm will leave with knowledge of agriculture careers, tractors, crops, small engines, animal science, and soil. The students also spent time observing calves, pigs, lambs, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, and chicks, which were hatched in the elementary classrooms.
Krista Dodd, second grade teacher at Woodland Elementary explains, “My students are totally excited, they studied lifecycles in the classroom, so seeing the chicks brought it all together. The chicks were definitely their favorite.” Mrs. Dodd’s students carried over the debate from their class, whether or not the chicken came before the egg. Although they may not have come to a final decision on the answer, they have learned a lot and will still be discussing it throughout the rest of their school year.
Mrs. Keeling says that it is easy for students to continue to learn and practice agriculture. “Over the summer months, our students can grow a tomato or pepper plant in half a milk carton. It not only encourages learning but is a great way to help promote health and nutrition.”
It takes a dedicated team of individuals to make Ag Days run smoothly. Thank you to our EACC small engine and veterinary students for their participation. And a special thanks to Cyndy Keeling, director of agriculture curriculum, Dwight Moudy and the Indiana Farm Bureau, and Jordan Beehler, SWCD conservationist from the Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Scroll through the photos below!