Naomi Owens pats a Holstein during Farm Day at the Ward Ag Center. / Dallus Whitfield photo
Seventeen hundred Wilson County second graders were out of their classrooms earlier this week for some fun on the “farm.”
Classes ventured to the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon on Wednesday and Thursday for the annual Farm Day field trip. Local farmers, beekeepers, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency representatives and even law enforcement officers set up numerous stations for the classes to visit and learn.
Wilson County Property Assessor Jack Pratt Jr. took a day away from his main job at the county courthouse to set up a station and talk to children about his peach farm. “I’ve been coming out to Farm Day for about nine years,” he said. “Before I was Property Assessor I was a farmer – and I still am a farmer.”
Pratt explained to a class from Lakeview Elementary in Mt. Juliet that the fruits and vegetables they eat are not magically produced at the grocery store – they are grown by farmers.
“I don’t sell my peaches to a grocery store. We let people come down and pick their own. When kids come out there, they get an idea of where the fruit comes from,” he said.
Pratt held up branches from both peach and apple trees to tell students how the blooms are pollinated and the fruit is grown. “Right now our apples are in bloom. It has been cold the past two nights though and that is bad news. If the temperature gets down to 26 degrees it can take 90 percent of our blooms.”
Inside of the barn, children were introduced to several types of livestock animals, including sheep, goats, cows and pigs. Farmer Andy Ligon, of Mt. Juliet, spoke to Gladeville second graders about goats – and showcased two week-old kids.
Ligon said that male goats are often referred to as “bucks” or “Billy goats” and that female goats are called “nannies.” He also pointed out that the kids did not have horns like their mother. “It takes about a year to have horns.”
One student asked Ligon what the kids’ names were. “They don’t have names right now,” he responded. “Would you guys like to name them?” The students began to shout a variety of names; however, settled on the names Jared and Sebastian.
“Students nowadays are mainly exposed to technology. It is good for them to learn other things outside of a computer,” said Barbara Christian, a teacher at Southside Elementary. “Some of the students live on farms, but some haven’t. Farm Day gives so much information to the children. I love what they have learned.”
Christian said in preparation for Farm Day, she read to her class about growing and then they planted a seed.
“Every station gives them facts they didn’t know.”
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.