Fourth graders visit with cows and more on Agriculture Day

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

Approximately 300 children were given the opportunity to learn more about agriculture and its presence within our daily lives at the Kids & Kows & More Expo on Thursday morning.
Every 4th grade elementary class from every Copperas Cove elementary school except Clements/Parsons attended the event at Ogletree Gap. The expo offered bite-sized lessons on milk and dairy, honey bees, cotton, cheese, pecans, and water. The goal of the expo was to give the children a better awareness and understanding of how agriculture impacts their lives.
“It’s a neat program…It teaches kids where their food and their clothing comes from,” said Sandra R. Pierce, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program Specialist. “They realize when they walk into a grocery store or a mall, that that isn’t where the item originated...It’s important for them to come to events like this and realize that agriculture is really important in their lives.”
Pierce added that the program also hits many of the STAAR program basics. They teach the kids a few vocabulary words, a little bit of history, and even encourage the students to use math as well.
Rick Luton, a member of the Bell/Coryell County Beekeeping Club, taught the children about the importance of honey bees. Luton focused on pollination, the types of bees, and what products come from bees. He said that bees are important because they pollinate flowers.
“[Bees] ensure that whatever flower they go to has a future. They get the pollen in there which causes the seed or fruit to develop. That’s why they’re so valuable,” said Luton. “I hope that [after they learn more about the bees] they will not just readily kill a bee. Hopefully they’ll realize that they’re very beneficial to nature.”
“My favorite was the bee presentation,” said James Best (9). “It was really interesting about the queen bee and how they lay eggs. They lay a bunch of different eggs. And how they fight is really interesting. The queen bee can fight with the stinger. The beehive can only have one queen.”
Best said that he also liked the presentation on cows. “Cows have baby calves when they’re not that old,” said Best. “They have four stomachs, and they only have front bottom teeth and a really long tongue!”
Kayler Campbell, a representative from Southwest Dairy Farmers, brought her cow, Ariel, out to teach the children all about cows and dairy products. They learned about how milk is produced and how the milk then gets to the consumer.
Santanna Bay taught the children all about pecans. Bay said that there are over 1,000 pecan varieties and showed the children a chart with several varieties ranging in size. She taught them about how she grows and harvests her pecans.
“No matter what you grow, you have to take care of it,” said Bay. “Agriculture is important so you have to be good stewards of the land and you’ve got to take care of what you have.”

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