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Excited youngsters experience farm life during MTS...

Excited youngsters experience farm life during MTSU field trip [+VIDEO]

With assistance from dozens of volunteers, an MTSU School of Agriculture agritourism class planned and executed the return of the Ag Education Spring Fling for nearly 750 local school children.

The youngsters enjoyed a small taste of life on a farm — even a sample of MTSU Creamery chocolate milk — during each school’s two-hour field trip to the Tennessee Livestock Center Tuesday, April 12. Because of the pandemic, it was the first time since 2019 for the class to open the event to area schools.

Local elementary school children experience the annual agricultural field trip, Ag Ed Spring Fling, offered for area schools, where youngsters who’ve never been to a farm can experience nearly every aspect of farming under one roof at the Tennessee Livestock Center. The event featured live animals. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Local elementary school children experience the annual agricultural field trip, Ag Ed Spring Fling, offered for area schools, where youngsters who’ve never been to a farm can experience nearly every aspect of farming under one roof at the Tennessee Livestock Center. The event featured live animals. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Despite early morning thunderstorms, kindergarten through second graders from Kittrell, Barfield, Walter Hill, Auburn (Auburntown) elementary schools, Middle Tennessee Christian School and Homer Pittard Campus School made the bus trip.

The field trip featured learning about tractors, bees producing honey and farmers calling it soil, not dirt. They enjoyed making a craft, running through a maze of hay bales, being in group photos and more.

Children could be heard making sounds like many of the animals: goats, a ewe lamb named Penny Lane and pigs. Also on display were dairy and beef cows, a buckskin quarter horse named Woodrow, Scooter the pony and more.

Kindergartener Bryson Vest, 6, of Woodbury, Tennessee, said what he enjoyed most was “all of it. And I got to ride on the school bus the whole way here.” Usually, he rides to school with his mother Courtney Vest, a Kittrell special education teacher’s assistant.

Area elementary school children enjoy an “amazing” experience in a maze made out of hay bales Tuesday, April 12, during the Ag Ed Spring Fling at the MTSU Tennessee Livestock Center. Youngsters learned about life on a farm and all agriculture has to offer. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Area elementary school children enjoy an “amazing” experience in a maze made out of hay bales Tuesday, April 12, during the Ag Ed Spring Fling at the MTSU Tennessee Livestock Center. Youngsters learned about life on a farm and all agriculture has to offer. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Inside the main arena, Bryson Vest said he “enjoyed the animals,” especially the goats. “Yeah, they were awesome.” Twin brother Nolan Vest also attended with the Kittrell class.

School of Agriculture logo“There has been a lot of planning and execution for this event,” said Savannah Scott, 20, a sophomore animal science major who is pursuing a minor in secondary education. “We do a lot of collaboration with the preparing of the crafts for the students.”

Dr. Alanna Vaught, graduate program director, MTSU School of Agriculture

Dr. Alanna Vaught

Instructor Alanna Vaught’s nearly 30-member agritourism class had a test run with the “Little Acres” area of the event, participating in the Adventures in Agriculture April 9 at Lane Agri-Park. Little Acres teaches them about vegetables, fruits and other farm aspects.

Tuesday’s event drew 75-plus volunteers, including members of the Woodbury FFA from Cannon County High School.

“We have a lot of volunteers here today,” Scott said. “It takes a lot of help to execute this event, and a lot of preparation.” They spent three hours Monday setting up two large areas in the livestock center.

Sponsors included Rutherford County Farm Bureau (milk) and Rutherford Farmers Co-Op (300 bales of hay). The MTSU Farm and Dairy and ag faculty provided most of the live animals.

By the time they boarded buses to return to their schools, agriculture-related goody bags — full of items provided by many sources for each child — awaited them.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU School of Agriculture agritourism student Sophie Sanford talks about eggs to a group of local elementary school youngsters attending the annual Ag Ed Spring Fling Tuesday, April 12, in the Tennessee Livestock Center’s main arena. An estimated 725 children attended in two-hour intervals throughout the day. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU School of Agriculture agritourism student Sophie Sanford talks about eggs to a group of local elementary school youngsters attending the annual Ag Ed Spring Fling Tuesday, April 12, in the Tennessee Livestock Center’s main arena. An estimated 725 children attended in two-hour intervals throughout the day. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

 


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