Ag in the Classroom Field Trip Reaches 1,000 2nd Graders
The Maui County Farm Bureau concluded its 2016-2017 Agriculture in the Classroom program with an annual field trip held at Oskie Rice Arena in Makawao. The program devoted two days to agriculture education for second graders, teachers and chaperones representing 15 schools and nearly 1,000 students.
Six activity stations were set up by agriculture partners including the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Haleakalā Ranch Company, East Maui Watershed, Maui Electric Company, Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts, and Monsanto Hawaiʻi.
The school groups traveled Upcountry from as far as Hāna and Lahaina. For some students it was their first time Upcountry. The participating schools included Wailuku Elementary, Carden Academy, Doris Todd Schools, Pāʻia Elementary, Pukalani Elementary, Montessori-Makawao, St. Anthony School, Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary, Hāna, Kahului, Lihikai, Haʻikū, Makawao, Puʻu Kukui, and Maui Adventist.
“Our Ag in the Classroom Field Trip is definitely one of the highlights of the year,” said Warren K. Watanabe, executive director, Maui County Farm Bureau. “The program is a priority for MCFB and it’s important for us and our ag partners to introduce agriculture to the youth of Maui. We hope to plant a seed about a future career in ag.”
One of the popular activity stations is the livestock station with Greg Friel, VP/Livestock Manager, Haleakalā Ranch Company. Friel is well known for working with sheep and goats to move cattle and control invasive species. He explained how the animals help him on the ranch.
The East Maui Watershed activity station led by Jordan Jokiel is hands-on fun. During his presentation, Jokiel explained his work to protect native Hawaiian flora and fauna and birds from extinction, and the students got their hands dirty by making “seed balls.” These are nickel-size balls made of moist dirt and seeds. The seed balls are taken into watershed areas and planted as part of the East Maui Watershed’s reforestation project.
MSWCD focuses on conserving soil and water resources. They built two exhibits. The first was a trough with soil in it for the students to feel and observe. They were able to look for components that make up soil such as rocks, plant matter, and critters like earthworms. The second exhibit was a soil tunnel that was constructed to represent being underground. Students went through the soil tunnel to gain an appreciation and understanding of our soil profile.
MECO and Monsanto Hawai’i ran activity stations centered on parts of plants. Students in the Monsanto Hawai’i station played with soil. Using individual potted plants, students removed soil to uncover roots and were shown how to identify other parts of the plants. MECO focused on nutrition with a lesson plan about fruits and vegetables that grow above and below the ground and the importance of including fruits, vegetables, and grains in our daily diet. The students enjoyed chilled Maui Gold pineapples.
CTAHR’s activity station focused on canoe crops or the first food plants brought to the Hawaiian Islands. Students were introduced to the concept of food grown on Maui and made into a value-added food products like banana bread.
Schools may apply for the AIC program by contacting MCFB via their web site. The program is comprised of two parts: an in-class component (August – November) and the end of the year field trip in March. This year it was in May due to weather. There’s no charge to participate, however bus service is required from the participating school to the field trip site.