Cows on Capitol Hill!
As a feature of our blog, our livestock manager, Polly Festa will be providing updates from the barnyard once a month. This month, she talks about taking some of the animals to the big city.
by Polly Festa, Livestock Manager
The week of October 3 through 7 was the D.C. Farm to School Week, which kicked off the first National Farm to School Month. During this week, I took some of our heritage livestock to two schools in the DC area to teach kids about farm animals.
On Monday, October 3, I went to Garfield Elementary with two of our Buckeye hens. I had planned to take the calves but the weather was too unpredictable. Once we arrived, I visited eight classes ranging from preschool to second grade. The students had many questions about the hens and farming. I really enjoyed the contrast between the grades. Most of the kids had never been that close to a chicken before so, needless to say they were all very curious. The kids asked many questions about the animals and farming in general. They were so excited to pet the hens and learn all about their purpose on the farm. The hens acted like they were about to lay all day but they never did produce that egg.
The second school we visited was Watkins Elementary. At this school, our friends Lorelei and Jujubee took the show. I spoke with five classes of second graders with my helpers, Accokeek Foundation farmer, Jose and my mother, Mary Lynn. We set up on the sidewalk in front of the school so the kids could come to us. Boy, were we a spectacle to those driving by! Some cars circled the block two or three times just to be sure of what they were seeing – Cows on Capitol Hill! All the kids had good questions; each class had different things they were interested in from chickens to horses and everything in between. But the highlight of the day was when the classes formed two lines in order to pet the calves. Some kids got in line more than once to pet the calves while others were so excited they hugged Lorelei and Jujubee. It was great to see kids get so excited about seeing farm animals.
I am glad that there are programs like this to help the students that are so removed from agriculture learn more about it. Every school should get the chance to learn about farms and how they work. I hope that there will continue to be programs like this, not just in the DC area but all over the country.