Last week, Laura King visited a third grade classroom and asked students where they think their food originates.
“The answer was ‘from the grocery store,'” said King, a senior agricultural business major Wednesday. “I was like, ‘could you be a little more specific?’ and they said ‘King Soopers.'”
King organized “Ag Adventures,” which is a field trip for about 1,000 Fort Collins-area third-graders to CSU’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center, located just north of Fort Collins.
At the crop sciences side of the farm were, among other things, plastic models of different cuts of meat. All put together, they made up the muscular system of the cow.
As one child hit another with a plastic porterhouse, King said, “Obviously, children living in cities aren’t always aware of where their food really comes from.”
“The College (of Agricultural Sciences) started this event to make youth aware of agriculture,” she added.
The third-graders took a hayride to the animal sciences part of the facility. Upon arrival, they were greeted by “Captain Cornelius,” an 8-foot-tall walking ear of corn who gave a high-five to each one as they walked by.
Inside a large white building, students witnessed shearing of sheep.
“(The sheep) acts like he doesn’t like that,” a young voice said.
“Oh my god!” said another.
Children, some with handfuls of sheep’s wool in hand, then moved along to a very vocal CAM the Ram.
“Do you know what this is for, this thing on CAM’s nose?” asked Danica McComb, a senior agricultural education major.
“Is that for him to listen to you guys?” a girl asked, correctly identifying the reason. “I know that because my dog has one.”
Despite what was prominently hanging between CAM’s hind legs, one small voice could be heard asking, “How do you know he’s a boy?”
One of the most asked about parts of the day was a fistulated cow: A cow with a hole similar to a piercing in its side, allowing researchers to see what’s going on inside of its primary stomach.
“Does it ever leak?” one curious youngster asked.
Tracy Acosta, third grade teacher at Irish Elementary School, said the trip was very valuable to her students in terms of education.
“My students live in the city, so a lot of them didn’t even know what kinds of animals are on a farm,” Acosta said.
“Some of them thought they were going to see a hippopotamus or a zebra here,” she said. “It’s good for them to see where their food comes from. It will be a lasting memory, I’m sure.”
Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org