News Release Distributed 02/04/09LAKE CHARLES, La. – The first Ag Adventure held during the LSU AgCenter Regional Livestock Show here was a perfect fit for kindergarten teacher Gloria Watson of Brentwood Elementary School.
“Some of the stories we read in class are about animals,” Watson said. “We thought it would be a good thing to see some real animals. Most of them have not seen any animals.”
More than 800 kids from the Lake Charles area went through Ag Adventure, held Feb. 2-3. Exhibits included farm animals, crawfish, a puppet show and a real live cowboy. The children were taught the importance of nutrition and hand cleaning.
Watson said one of her pupils was quite taken by the texture of a goat’s fur. “She said, ‘Oh it’s so soft.’ She didn’t want to leave it.”
Children are naturally curious about animals, so using cows, pigs and ducks to teach counting and colors makes a lesson more interesting, Watson said.
And programs such as Ag Adventure teaches them about where their food originates, she said.
Watson said her class turned up their noses when she asked if they ate pigs, but then she asked if they ate bacon, sausage and ham and told them the source of pork products. “They couldn’t believe it.”
She said even children with behavior problems are captivated by animals. “It just motivates the good behavior.”
Megan Fuselier, another kindergarten teacher at Brentwood, said the Ag Adventure allowed the class to get reinforcement for what they’ve learned in the classroom.
“We’ve been learning about different types of animals and what they do for us,” she said. “It’s been very nice. They are paying better attention here than in the classroom.”
Most of the children in her class are from the city, so the day has allowed them to see things they have only viewed in pictures. She said they expected to see zebras and other zoo animals.
“They had no clue between the differences of animals on the farm and in the zoo. This is an eye-opener for them.”
A sheep included in the Ag Adventures displays that gave birth to two lambs was eye-opening even for some adults.
Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor of extension, said Ag Adventure’s educational value for the kids cannot be overemphasized.
“Ag Awareness is a major outreach effort of the LSU AgCenter. We want to learn the value of agriculture to their daily quality of life,” Coreil said. “Everyone needs to know and appreciate the hard work of our farmers and ranchers and how they help create jobs in our urban and rural communities.”
The event was staffed by LSU AgCenter personnel, 4-H Junior Leaders from Calcasieu Parish and Calcasieu Parish Master Gardeners.
“This was truly an outstanding educational effort put on by a great team,” said Lanette Hebert, LSU AgCenter regional 4-H coordinator. “It was obvious that the children truly enjoyed this adventure.”
In addition to the LSU AgCenter, sponsors included Southwest District Fatstock Show, Louisiana Farm Bureau, City of Lake Charles, Southern University Ag Center, McNeese State University, Sea Grant, Master Gardeners, Calcasieu 4-H Junior Leadership Club and the Smith, Harper and Morgan Rodeo.Contacts: Paul Coreil at (225) 578-6083, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lanette Hebert at (337) 788-7547, or email@example.com
Writer: Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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