Santa Maria Sun / School Scene
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 3
Guadalupe celebrates Ag Day
Willie stubbornly backed up against the sidewalk as his owner, 7-year-old Sage Pearce, just as stubbornly prodded him back onto the grass before the next horde of kids encircled the miniature-horse portion of Ag Day at Guadalupe Park on March 20.
Children from the Guadalupe Boys and Girls Club and the Guadalupe Elementary School afterschool program touched horses, chickens, and bunnies; planted seedlings; and checked out different insects at the event put together through California Women for Agriculture.
“I’ve heard some of these kids have never experienced touching an animal or planting a seed before, and I think it’s really important,” said Julia Boersma, 13, from Nipomo 4H, who organized the petting zoo portion of the event.
It was her first time organizing a big event for 4H. She made phone calls and sent e-mails to get businesses to donate for the cause and round up people to bring their animal projects.
Nipomo and Pioneer Valley high schools’ 4H clubs brought animals for the petting zoo, the Arroyo Grande Future Farmers of America led children through plantings, and the Santa Barbara Agricultural Commissioners Office showed off the different species of insects that affect agriculture in the area.
Laura Gregory with Women for Agriculture said it’s the second year they’ve partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to bring the farm to Guadalupe. She said it’s a good way to celebrate National Agricultural Day, which was on March 19. The day marked its 40th anniversary this year.
Gregory said it was important for her organization to bring the event to Guadalupe because it’s an area surrounded by agriculture and families who work in the fields, but it’s not always something children get to participate in first-hand.
“They can have a more hands-on experience,” Gregory said. “[It’s] a way to expose them to a little bit more.”
In a way it was hands-on for both those who were exposed and those who were on display. While Guadalupe’s elementary school population experienced a petting zoo through touch, Nipomo and Pioneer Valley 4H kids practiced the art of maintaining their animals as hands reached in to feel fur, ears, and beaks.
“These kids put a lot of work into it,” Gregory said of the 4H members. “Those animals don’t get tamed on their own.”