Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kids Day on the Farm

CFWC's Mike Henry wrote about his experience at Kids Day on the Farm last week. Read about it below:

Third-graders are little bundles of energy and will come up with surprising answers when you ask them a question, sort of like “Kids say the darnedest things” for those of you who remember Art Linkletter.

I survived 500 of these young people as part of “Kids Day on the Farm” that took place at the Chico State University Farm this month. The students came from schools across Butte County and were able to learn about bees; what it takes to make pizza; the every-day products we use that are made from beef byproducts; and more. I was there to talk about farm water.

Every presentation lasted only 18 minutes so I had to talk fast...and I wanted to leave some time at the end for a special exercise. I grabbed the students’ attention by asking them what they ate for breakfast and quickly moved on to the milk that most of them had with their cereal or in a glass.

They all knew that milk comes from cows and when I asked what does the cow need to produce milk, that’s when things started to get interesting. As expected, they quickly gave answers of water, hay, grass and grains. But some of them made me pause when they replied with “give birth to a calf.” They were right, of course, but I wasn’t expecting that type of answer and it made me blink a couple of times, wondering if they lived on a dairy.

The students had been sitting for most of the other 11 presentations so I ended my 18-minute session with a water relay race. After talking about moving water from Lake Oroville through the State Water Project and ending up in San Diego to grow the avocados used to make guacamole, I had the kids line up behind buckets filled with water. The challenge was to see which line could “transfer” the most water to an empty bucket while using a 5-oz paper cup.

It didn’t take long for the students to get their feet moving and legs pumping as they raced to the empty bucket with water-filled cups and then return to their lines to hand off an empty cup to the next person in line. They got so excited that several times a bucket receiving water was tipped over and the water spilled. As I quipped to a parent standing nearby, “Looks like we had a levee break.”

All in all it was a good day and the kids learned a little bit about the farmer’s need for water to grow the food they eat, which was the goal for the 18-minute session.

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