Local students take class on the farm

Johnny Morgan, Jenny, Bruce F., Williams, Cathleen C.

LSU AgCenter dairy science professor Cathy Williams explains the hole in side of Willie, the fistulated steer, at Farm Day at the LSU AgCenter dairy. The intentional hole in his side allows dairy science faculty and students to conduct nutrition research. (Photo by Johnny Morgan)

News Release Distributed 04/23/13

BATON ROUGE, La. – Many area students who know little about where their food comes from received a lesson complete with live farm animals when they attended Farm Day at the LSU AgCenter dairy on April 18-19.

Elementary schools students who are so far removed from the farm that they may have never seen live cows or ducks attended the event, which has been held every year for more than 30 years, said LSU AgCenter dairy science professor Bruce Jenny.

“We will have between 1,500 and 1,600 students from around 30 area schools here to get a close-up look at farm animals,” Jenny said.

Pre-school through third-grade students from East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes stop at various stations to see, feel and learn about the different animals, Jenny said.

This annual event is operated by college students as a way to help the younger students have a better understanding of the importance of animals to people, Jenny said.

Area schools are sent invitations, and the response has been great each year, Jenny said.

Gina Calahan, mother of Pressley, a kindergartener at the University Lab School, said her daughter and many others live in towns and don’t get to see the different farm animals.

“I think it’s great to have a place like this for children to see the process of where their food comes from,” Calahan said.

At each station, the young students were able to interact with the animals. One station included Willie, the fistulated steer. There students saw a dairy science student reach inside the animal’s stomach to show them what it has eaten. Also on hand was a 23- year-old African tortoise that weighs 75 pounds, Jenny said.

“We normally have dairy and beef cows, calves, ponies, ducks, goats and rabbits,” said LSU animal science major Stacey Vignes, a junior from Hammond.

Part of the children’s excitement comes from getting close enough to touch the animals.

The young students are learning the different uses of animals in everyday life and as food, Vignes said.

“Most of these animals are pets, but the children learn why some of these are not good pet animals,” Vignes said.

The ducks and the chicks are rescued animals, she said. “They were bought for a kid for Easter, and that never lasts long.”

Millie Williams, a grandmother on the field trip, said she grew up around animals, but she came along with her five-year old grandson Kelan Williams, who attends Highland Elementary.

“Kelan is experiencing lots of new things here today,” Williams said. “He’s never been on a bus, and he’s never been on a field trip like this. So he’s excited, very excited.”

Johnny Morgan
4/23/2013 9:42:28 PM
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