Fourth-graders learn about ag

Robert Baker didn't realize marshmallows, erasers, crayons and bubble gum are all byproducts of the animals that go "moo."

But the East Elementary School student learned that, and more, at Ag-Day, the fourth-grade agriculture awareness day sponsored by the Moffat County Cowbelles on Friday.

"It was fun because you got a bag and figured out what bubble gum and marshmallows and crayons are made of," he said, "and ride the tractor and look at fake skulls."

Members of the organization and other volunteers took the students on a wagon ride and designed stations to teach them about agriculture -- from the past and present -- in Colorado.

Organizer Diane Prather said she's been running the annual program for seven years because it's important for children to learn about farming and where products come from.

"Agriculture is a declining industry in the United States," she said, "and we think it's really important for the kids to know about it."

Fourth-grade students from East, Ridgeview and Sunset elementary schools all attended the event at different times throughout the day. They watched a film called "You Just Can't Have an Ag-less Day in Moffat County," made several years ago by DeLaine Brown and Bill Engler.

Then they traveled to various stations at the Moffat County Fairgrounds to learn about horses, sheep, goats and cattle. They found out about spinning techniques and how clothes were washed before electric washing machines existed.

They dissected an oversized cloth hamburger and discussed what makes up the parts inside. They looked at casts of animal skulls and guessed what creature belonged to which skull.

Then organizers gave them goodie bags filled with items talked about during the day, hoping their agricultural message would stick with them.

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