A few surprises at Ag Day
FARMINGTON - More than 1,000 elementary students and their chaperons from four counties arrived at the Farmington Fair on a clear and warm Monday morning to milk a cow, make butter and apple cider, learn about protecting the woods from fire and insects and much more at the 22nd annual Agricultural-Environmental Day.
The event, organized by the Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation District, offered 25 educational farm and environment demonstration stations geared for elementary school students.
Students from public schools and home schools toured the stations, the little Red Schoolhouse, the Agricultural Society's historical exhibits, the Maine Maple sugar house, the exhibition hall and the long barns at the fair through the morning.
Maine Forest Service Ranger Mark Rousseau had students promising aloud to "never, never, never play with fire" and gave tips on how to make the best s'mores.
Beekeeper Jeff Irish asked the young students "what do bees do?" and answered the many questions that followed while students watched the bees squirm around a honeycomb encased in glass.
Long lines formed at the milking station as a patient Jezebel from the Hardy Family Farm of Farmington stood stoically while inexperienced hands tried to produce a little squirt into the bucket below. Help came from Andrew Hardy as he demonstrated the coordinated fingering required.
At the "We're into Pumpkins!" station nearby, University of Maine at Farmington student Renee Brown asked students if there's more seeds in a big pumpkin than a small pumpkin. Emma White and Erin Ladd, both fourth-grade students at Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon, dug out the pumpkins' gooey seeds as they answered there were the same number but only grow larger as the pumpkin grows.
Brown, who is a nutrition and exercise science major interning this semester at the conservation district, did manage to surprise the young students when she informed them a pumpkin is actually a fruit.
Among the environmental educators, composting guru Tony Ramsey of Living Acres in New Sharon, a ground water demo from hydro-geologist Molly King and people in Asian Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer costumes roamed around with lots of info about their specialties.
The fair continues through Saturday.