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CCFB News» May 2024

Planting Seeds“Ag Day”

05/06/2024 @ 8:30 am | By Katrina Milton, Director of Ag Literacy

Some people have a favorite day of the year; this year, I had two favorite days: Ag Day North and Ag Day South.


Ag Day South was held April 3 at The Children’s Farm in Palos Park. Ag Day North was held April 17 at Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview. During the two events, more than 500 third grade students in total rotated in 15-minute intervals around stations to learn about agriculture. They learned that a queen bee lays 12,000 eggs a day, a horse’s age can be determined by its teeth, pigs are smart and clean animals, and the color of a chicken’s egg is due to the chicken’s breed.


I would have loved to have attended an Ag Day event as a third grade student, because I would have loved to interact with the farm animals. In second grade, I remember reading “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and crying for days at the ending. I loved all books about animals at that age, including “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary, “Poppy” by Avi, “The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, “Rascal” by Sterling North, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, and “Old Yeller” by Fred Gipson. I also loved the science-fiction series “Animorphs” by K. A. Applegate, a book series about children who have the ability to shapeshift into animals.


I think what makes Ag Day unique is that it brings the farm to life for children who have only read about farms before in books or seen them in movies. Children have the opportunity to hold a chicken, pet a sheep, stand next to a horse, and see beekeeping equipment up close. I loved seeing the children’s excitement as they ran to see a live chicken for the first time, as they felt the greasy lanolin on sheep’s wool, as they stood in awe at the overwhelmingly tall height of a horse, and as raised their hands to answer questions about how honey is made.


All of those experiences – and thousands more – could not have happened without a trip to a farm. Many adults have lived their lives without seeing a chicken or cow up close, yet they often eat chicken nuggets and hamburgers. Many adults don’t know that tomatoes are a fruit or that carrots are a carrot plant’s roots.


Ag Day is my favorite day of the year, not because I’m able to spend time with farm animals or learn new facts about agriculture. Ag Day is my favorite day of the year because I’m able to share that knowledge with children, and I have the opportunity to see them excited and eager to learn. I am reminded for a few hours the wonder and magic of childhood. I can only imagine the happy cacophony of chitter-chattering of the students on their bus ride back to school, sharing what they saw and learned with one another. Ag Day is my favorite day of the year because I get to share the experience and all of the fun and excitement of agriculture with youth, and hopefully it will be a lifelong fun and exciting memory for them as well. I’m already looking forward to next year’s events!

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