Local fourth graders to participate in agricultural program

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 10, 2004 – The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will host 400 fourth-grade students from Montgomery and Giles counties at the annual Fourth Grade Agricultural Experience Program from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 16 and 17, at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena.

The purpose of the program is to teach fourth graders the importance of agriculture, enhance their agricultural literacy, and to use agriculture as a medium to teach the Standards of Learning for Virginia pubic schools.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to educate children about Virginia agriculture, while incorporating the SOLs," said John Hillison, professor of agricultural and extension education. "It is also a great community outreach program for our Virginia Tech students."

The fourth graders will visit eight educational stations covering different aspects of Virginia’s agriculture, including dairy, poultry, livestock, entomology, agricultural economics, agronomy, horticulture, and fisheries/wildlife. Virginia Tech students will conduct the learning sessions utilizing live animals, commodity products, and hands-on activities. Examples of activities that will be featured include: studying soil profiles in a soil pit, creating grain art from Virginia-grown grains, viewing live insects, and learning about breeds of livestock and what food products they produce. Through these activities various aspects of the math, science, and English SOLs will be covered.

As a special treat this year, students will be entertained at lunch by local musicians playing Appalachian fiddle tunes.

This is the fourth year that the college has offered this program. Previous programs had been held in conjunction with the Farm and Family Showcase held at Kentland Farm.

This event is not open to the public.