Children learn about agriculture

CORTLAND – Children entering kindergarten to third grade received a little extra science and social studies fun as they took part in the four-day Kids Camp Wild learning about agriculture, conservation and the environment.

Jenna DePizzo, program coordinator and an elementary teacher in LaBrae schools, said the program focused on educating primary grade students about farming and wildlife of northeastern Ohio. This is the fourth year for the program.

Hands-on activities were held at the Trumbull County Agriculture and Family Education Center, where children could see farm animals and farming equipment.

Ed Agler, a local farmer, showed various farm equipment and utility vehicles he uses on his farm.

“When you are a farmer, your equipment and vehicles are your tools. If I need something and am out in the field, I use my utility vehicles to get places quickly,” he said.

Children asked questions about the various pieces of equipment Agler brought, and sat on tractors.

DePizzo said the camp was split, with kindergarten and first grade in the morning and second and third in the afternoon.

She said one day was devoted to skunks and turtles and another plants and the soil.

DePizzo said she aligned the program curriculum with the common core standards for those grade levels.

“They are not only learning about the outdoors but using the science skills that they will need in school. I try to do things that are relevant to our community such as the animals they would find in Trumbull County,” DePizzo said.

She said many children in Cortland are not familiar with farms and agriculture, which is important since farming is a major industry in Ohio. Of the 50 children in the program, only three live on a farm.

“Everything is hands-on outdoor activities such as learning to milk a cow, and planting corn,” DePizzo said.

DePizzo said many children liked last year’s program, so she extended it to the 4-H Clovers, a group that meets once a month. She said 11 of the children are part of the 4-H club.

”Many of the children wished they could be in the program year-round, so that is why there is the 4-H group,” she said.

Kiersten Heckel, 4-H educator at The Ohio State University Extension, said a lot of the children who attend the camp also joined the 4-H program.

Xander Nicholas, 7, who was part of the program before and is 4-H Wild Clover member, said he likes ”getting to learn new stuff about animals.” He said he learned about how a skunk sprays.

Izzi Petrilla, 9, taking part for the first time, said, “I really did not know much about it. The fun part is getting to see the animals.”