The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

May 3, 2013

Being smart means being safe

Albia students get hands-on education about danger around farms

(Continued)

"They've been over to see the animals; they have to [wash their] hands before they have their snack. And we tell them they have to wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them," said the grocer.

Some kids in the U.S. can't identify a fresh squash, an Ottumwa chef once complained. Yet these little guys correctly identified bell peppers and a tomato plant that didn't even have tomatoes hanging on it.

"So what kind of corn is your favorite, frozen, canned or on-the-cob," Clouse asked.

Ten voices called out at once, "on-the-cob!"

One Monroe County Farm Bureau supporter said the Albia kids always surprise the presenters with their level of knowledge and the intelligent questions they ask.

Carlton, the teacher, said a percentage of the children come from farm homes, where they learn a lot about life. It's the specifics of safety adults worked on Thursday. But they also showed kids how the earth itself can be put in danger.

For example, one Monroe County Farm Bureau table had a model of a town. Demonstrators sprayed "rain" onto the roof of a factory, farm fields with too much pesticide and a new lawn with no grass. Industrial waste, chemicals and fertilizer washed away from their locations, and trickled visibly in red to the model's fishing ponds and freshwater sources. Though the town model wasn't a high-tech piece of equipment, kids seemed fascinated. It clearly showed children and adults alike how toxic runoff can move around a community.

The 80 Albia Lincoln school kids each liked something different at the fairgrounds. Jenna, herself a farm kid, said she felt the varied animal exhibit was most popular, though.

"I liked to watch the sheep get sheared. I never get to see that," she said, "because we're at school when the sheep get sheared."

 

 

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