Without rain, there would be no agriculture.
Local third graders learned this lesson firsthand as they braved two rainy days in late September to take part in Colorado State University’s Ag Adventure held at the CSU Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center, or ARDEC, just north of campus.
More than 1,700 students from the Poudre School District arrived on buses with their teachers, parents and chaperones and were quickly led to one of many demonstration areas where they learned about animal handling; agronomy; farm, meat and food safety; and many other important topics in today’s agricultural industry. Not only did CSU undergraduates organize the event but they also led the demonstration sessions teaching students about horses, sheep, soil and seeds.
“I know I say this every year, but it seems like Ag Adventure just keeps getting better and better,” said Marshall Frasier, a professor in CSU’S Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Ag Adventure’s faculty advisor. “This year was a bit more challenging because of the rain, and our students did a splendid job of adjusting to the weather without sacrificing the energy of the event.”
Now in its 16th year, one of the goals of Ag Adventure is to help kids better understand where their food comes from. As most elementary students and their parents now find themselves several generations separated from a direct connection to food production, events like this one have taken on increasing importance.
Hands-on teaching experience for students
“Ag Adventure warms my heart,” said Belle Parra, a junior studying agricultural literacy and animal sciences, who is one of the event’s organizers. “The kids are just so excited to be out at ARDEC and they want to learn as much as they can. I think they know how much we care about them and how excited we are to be able to provide this chance for them. I can’t wait to come back next year and show even more kids why I care so much about agriculture.”
“We could see the sparks of curiosity that were lit in all of the third graders who came out, so in our opinion Ag Adventure was a great success,” said Kelsey Dobesh, a CSU veterinary student, who helped organize the event when she was an undergraduate in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Seeing the students’ enthusiasm and genuine excitement to learn about agriculture indicates a bright future for our field.”
Parents and teachers were especially grateful for this hands-on experience, something they would have difficulty doing in homes and classrooms.
“In agriculture, fields, pens and shops are often the classroom of life,” Frasier said. “Being able to bring the elementary students to ARDEC provides an ideal space for us to teach kids about agriculture.”