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Rural Education Day is a big hit with kids


Hundreds of students from Lapeer County learn from farming experts


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Students from Borland Elementary in Imlay City gather for a photo with ‘Sweet Tart’ the cow during the annual Project Red at Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds. photo by Tom Wearing.

October 22, 2008
IMLAY CITY — In what has become a local tradition, Lapeer County Farm Bureau and FFA students from the Lapeer Ed-Tech Center co-hosted Project Red at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds on Tuesday, October 7.

Hundreds of third-graders from schools throughout Lapeer County attended the 11th annual Rural Education Day, which serves as an introduction to agriculture for many of the children.

Project Red volunteer Phyllis Brown said participating youngsters and their respective schools benefit from the hands-on program.

"Whether children at this age realize it or not, agriculture is an important part of their daily lives," said Brown. "This program shows them how crucial farming is to all of us."

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The students were ushered through nine learning stations; each one focusing on a specific agriculture-related theme. They included: Horse of Course, the Earth Tunnel, Agricultural Products, Plant World, the Maple Syrup Barn, From Cow to You, the Sheep Barn, Animal Care and Photography.

Lapeer County FFA volunteer Chad Geoit, a senior at Lapeer East High School, was on hand to explain the difference between "organic" and "inorganic."

"A lot of these kids have never even heard these words," said Geoit. "I think they are surprised to learn about new things and how they affect them."

Goodland Township residents Bill and Virginia Ankley have been Project Red volunteers since the program's inception. On Tuesday, Bill was explaining the process of getting dairy products from the farm to the market place.

"The kids seem to really enjoy this," Virginia Ankley said. "I think the hands-on experience helps get their attention. And it's a departure from the routine of classroom studies."

At the end of the day, each student was given a goody bag filled with apples, rulers, pencils, informative reading material and other ag-related treats.

Garret Shevnock, 9, of Borland Elementary School, liked the goodie bags, but much preferred getting close to the animals.

"I'm learning things— like that horses are bigger than I thought," said Garret. "But the rabbits are the most fun to me."

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