California Elementary School kindergarten and preschool classes took some time out of the classroom May 17 and learned about different aspects of agriculture.
Six stations were set up for students to eat, feel and even pet. Senior Morgan Kempfer said several minutes of conservation lessons, a drone presentation, barn animal meet-and-greets, a tour of the greenhouse and even learning about pizza were available to the students.
"There's also a 23-year-old horse in the barn," Kempfer said. "So he's kind of edgy."
The first stop for many students was the conservation angle. A PowerPoint presentation headed by Emily Niemeier asked what different animals ate. Students then answered by finding a photo of the food that particular animal primarily consumes.
In the same room, two totes of approximately 20 fish swam in their containers for the children to observe.
"They were actually all caught this morning," Kempfer said. "At about 6 a.m., and it only took 30 minutes to catch all that."
Another station showed the children that anyone can make pizza from garden supplies. Bags of wheat were passed around the groups to feel what dough, before it is properly made, feels like. A pineapple, tomato and cheese were also laid out to illustrate how simple making a pizza can be.
A third station demonstrated a drone, flown by Harley Miller, soaring into the heavens just above the FFA building, the high school and adjoining properties. A TV was installed inside an ag building to show curious students the clarity and range one can see through a drone. The object of the lesson was to see how farmers can use drones to keep watch over their land.
The fourth station was a petting zoo of sorts where Whiskers the horse greeted students with two cows, a few rabbits, a couple of chickens, two pigs and two goats. The station was set in the barn FFA students built.
"I got to pet and hold the bunny," said Emma Boucher, a kindergartner. "It was so fun and cute."
The last two stations more or less involved tractors. Students learned the ins and outs of tractors and saw how the parts moved to make the machinery functions. The last station put this lesson to the test as the students were treated to a hayride around the high school parking lot.
It may have been mostly fun and all games, but ag instructor Dale Hodges said this was all an effort for something even more important.
"Today's all about just educating kids about anything and everything to do with agriculture," he said.