Wednesday, November 14, 2012

4-H Ag Adventures Draw Hundreds of Kids

By Deborah Buckhalter
November 04, 2012

First grader Kailyn Vega searches for a worm in a handful of mulch being held by Anita Crossley during 4-H Ag Adventures Friday at the North Florida Research and Education Center near Greenwood.

Roughly 450 first-graders from all over Jackson County converged on Greenwood Thursday and Friday to take part in 4-H Agriculture Adventures at the North Florida Research and Education Center, where the youngsters ran into a couple of living scarecrows as they picked their way through a corn maze.

The scarecrows were volunteers from the Jackson County Master Gardeners organization. They and other event volunteers were important contributors to the annual Ag Adventures program, said 4-H Youth Development Agent Ben Knowles.

For instance beekeeper Herman Elmore taught the youngsters about the importance of bees to the production of honey, food and beeswax. The children learned about dairy cows, too, and other livestock like goats, chickens and pigs.

Children ate boiled peanuts after they visited a research-station peanut patch, and went to a cotton field to learn about the many products that are made from cotton. They also cranked out some ground corn, trying out an old fashioned hand-powered corn-grinder. Cherokee Ranch in Jackson County, run by the Mack Glass family, contributed some Satsumas for the children to enjoy.

The program was also staffed by the crew at the research station, run by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services/Jackson County Extension Service.

The annual event is sponsored primarily by a grant from the state’s Florida Agriculture in the Classroom program and the research station itself.

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