Jubilee engages young pupils with agriculture
April 6, 2007
The annual Farm Day Jubilee brings in more than 800 elementary students to the UW-River Falls campus every spring. This year’s Farm Day Jubilee will be held Friday, April 20.
“It is a cooperative effort with the entire department of agriculture,” Alpha Zeta President Nikole Cisar said.
Alpha Zeta is an honorary agricultural fraternity whose purpose is to promote agriculture while developing and encouraging actual and potential leadership. The organization shares responsibility of organizing Farm Day Jubilee with the University’s Future Farmers of America chapter, organizes and makes arrangements for the event.
Other organizations involved with the event include Dairy Club, Horticulture Society, Poultry Club, Agriculture Education Society and the Crops and Soils Club.
“This is a service activity for the UWRF students involved,” faculty advisor Tim Buttles said. “Those in leadership positions learn how to organize an event involving over 500 people. The students who present activities have another chance to improve their communication skills.”
Many events will be held during the event, as in previous years.
“There are demonstrations given ranging from ag. jeopardy to dairy story time to egg candling,” Alpha Zeta Publicity Chair Jeffrey McNeely said.
According to the Alpha Zeta Web site, “elementary students are treated to a day of agricultural fun and learning.”
The students who attend Farm Day Jubilee have the opportunity to learn a lot about agriculture.
“This is a very hands-on and educational experience for the kids,” McNeely said. Alpha Zeta drafts a letter and information cards, inviting about 40 area elementary schools to the event. Cisar said the group invites between 800 and 1,000 first, second and third graders to the event. Some schools will bring an entire grade as a field trip and others decide to only bring certain classes.
“Creating the schedule of events is one of the most complicated parts. The schedule must accommodate all the schools and provide a rotation so each group attends each station,” Buttles said.
The event consists of daylong activities put on by student organizations. As in previous years, Cisar said the organizations usually bring the same activities every year. The Poultry Club will be providing egg candling to the students. Egg candling is the process of determining the grade of egg and to ensure the egg does not contain a chicken. This is done by placing an egg in front of a candle, which allows viewing of the inside of the egg.
The Dairy Club will be informing students about cows, milk and cheese through a trivia or Jeopardy-style format.
The Rodeo Club will be using hay bales to demonstrate proper roping and riding techniques. The event is deemed the rodeo school.
In addition to the booths and activities the student organizations bring, there will be a professional sheep shearer. Cisar said the sheep shearer explains to the young students that the shearing process does not hurt the animal, but is similar to receiving a haircut.
The River Falls Petting Zoo will also be present at the event. “Some of the animals the petting zoo is bringing includes birds, baby ducks, sheep and goats,” Cisar said.
She said Alpha Zeta is in charge of getting donations for the event. The fraternity uses a part of the organization’s savings in order to pay for what is not covered by donations. Cisar said Farm Day is worth spending the money from their savings because it allows young students who may have never had any experience with agriculture the opportunity to explore agriculture.
“The event provides a chance for the students to gain first hand experience with the source of their food and fiber. With less than 2 percent of the US population living on farms, fewer and fewer kids experience agriculture,” Buttles said.
Cisar said the fraternity participates in this event every year because it is a great way for college students to teach the younger generation about agriculture. The Farm Day Jubilee event will be located at Lab Farm 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.