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April 14, 2011

Orangeville Citizen/Free Press and Economist

A5

Students learn the importance of agriculture Staff Reporter

Grade three students from the Orangeville area were given the opportunity this week to learn about and get up close and personal with local agriculture and what it means for them. The Orangeville Agricultural Society has been hosting yearly education days for grade 3 students for 20 years, starting at the grandstand at the old fairgrounds before moving to the curling club and finally the new fairgrounds 13 year ago. John Rayburn, fair board member and chair of Food Education, says children don’t have any contact with agriculture and by having these education sessions they are giving kids the chance to learn about where Orangeville as a community came from. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a total of nine public school groups, four private schools and a group of home-schooled children made their way through the eight stations that have been set up inside the Agricultural Society building. When the students arrived Sarah Condon, Senior Ambassador of the Orangeville Fall Fair welcomed them. “I just came to educate the kids on what they would be doing today as well as go over how they can get involved in the fair as well, because I think that there is not as much

promotion as we’d like on how people can get involved in the fair, the competitions we have and the different ways that they can enter products,” she said. The students were then divided into eight groups before beginning the education circuit. Each station had 9-10 minutes to talk to the kids about their subject before they students moved onto the next station. Bert Nieuwenhuis, a local lamb and wool producer, explained the use of sheep and their wool to the kids. There was a horse station where Shelley Livingston explained how she takes care of her horses and pony’s as well as the different riding styles and the different in their hooves from other farm animals. Laverne Trimble and Fred Murphy brought a beef cow as a calf to use for their talk. They informed the kids on grooming, nutrition and the digestive systems of these huge animals, focusing on how their stomachs break down the foods the cow eats. Jan Scheurwater and Joe Oosterhof, local dairy farmers, and dairy educator Lois Mezt ran the dairy cow station. Nutrition for the increased production of milk, upgrades from hand milking to machine milking and how much milk a healthy dairy cow can produce a day were topics that were explained. Gerry Terpstra, an

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Alpaca farmer/hobbyist, explained all the important differences between sheep wool and alpaca hair to the students highlighting major differences like the frequency of wool harvesting, alpaca’s are only shaved once a year, and the absence of oils in the hair. He also explained that even though the alpaca looks like llamas, they are two very different animals. Jack Langen and Dave Apple from the High Country Antique Power Club brought in three century pieces to show the kids how corn was shucked and ground down for feed and rope was made by twining smaller strings using a hand powered machine into a thicker and stronger rope. Mark and Peggie Vantrigt, local beekeepers, brought in a hive to use at their education station. They explained the bees

are important and how we can help them to survive. They explained the how bees pollinate gardens and flowers as well as larger crops, highlighting the need for bees. Wellington-DufferinGuelph Public Health also had a representative present to show the sugar content of some of the kids favorite snack foods and drinks. She explained how some sugar is all right but too much sugar is not good for us, as well as the differences between good sugars in fruit and vegetable, and bad sugars in candy and snacks. “Its good education for the kids to realize where their food comes from,” said Mr. Rayburn. “One of the chaps sitting across from me at lunch time said it’s too bad we couldn’t bring the people up from Brampton and Mississauga to something like this because those kids are further away from

Vehicle damaged in Sobeys parking lot Orangeville Police are asking for the public’s help on finding that a vehicle had received extensive damage while in the Sobeys parking lot at 500 Riddell Road. Police say the vehicle was parked outside the store just before 8:30 a.m. When the owner returned to it at about 2:30 p.m. it was discovered that someone had punctured a hole in one tire, smashed a rear tail light and severely scratched both sides of the silver 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan, right down to the metal. Police feel that, given the amount of customer

traffic at the store, it is likely that someone witnessed the incident or noticed suspicious activity. Anyone having further information with regards to this incident is encouraged to call the Orangeville Police Service at 519-941-2522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-2228477 or www. sdm-crime stoppers.com. Callers to Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the crime may qualify the caller to receive a cash reward of up to $2000.

agriculture then these kids.” He commented that Orangeville was a farming community at one time. “It helps the kids to see what’s going on it their community, a lot of them don’t realize that there are farmers, beekeepers and people around that are part of agriculture that are growing their food locally,” said Ms. Condon. “It really gives them a greater sense of what Orangeville is all about.” All of the presenters and organizers have volunteered their time for education day. Ms. Condon said teachers in the area have come to expect this education day every year and see it as a valuable learning tool for their students. She said that for some of the kids this is their first time being this close or touching a farm animal. “It’s not just the town that they see, a lot of the kids are in subdivisions so it gives them a broader sense of the entire community because it was based on farming,” she said. “I think it’s great to educate them on where Orangeville comes from.”

Photo/LINDSEY PAPP

EDUCATION DAY: Jan Scheurwater, a dairy farmer from Grand Valley, allowed students to touch the adult dairy cow he brought for the grade three education day at the Orangeville fairgrounds as they asked questions.

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By LINDSEY PAPP


Agriculture education for students