FRANKFORT, Ind. — Despite low temperatures, fourth-graders
in Clinton County recently traveled to Camp Cullom to learn about swine and
sheep production, milking and churning butter, soils, wildlife, insects,
beekeeping and more.
More than 400 students visited Cullom over the two-day farm
education event sponsored by the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation
District and Farm Bureau Inc.
The Farm Education Conservation Camp has been available to
Clinton County fourth-grade students for 17 years.
The camp has become an annual event with the mission of
teaching students the importance of the agriculture industry and natural
resources conservation, said Leah Harden, district administrator and education
In one of the stations, Mark Loring Booth, executive
director of Take Flight Wildlife Education, told students about birds by showing
them a red-tailed hawk, two kinds of falcons and a great horned owl.
Booth told students why it mattered that they pay attention
to things such as wildlife.
“The more you learn about nature, the better you can take
care of it and the healthier it will be,” he said.
Steven, a student from Suncrest Elementary School, said he
enjoyed the bird exhibit the most. He said he learned several things, but the
one that stuck in his mind was how far down birds can see when they’re flying.
Mia, another fourth-grader from Suncrest, agreed that the
bird station was fun, but she had another favorite — the dairy exhibit.
The Fair Oaks mobile dairy exhibit made it possible for
students to learn about milking and churning butter.
“I learned a lot,” Mia said. “I learned how to make butter
and had a lot of fun.”
Harden, who has been involved with the event for 14 years,
said she thinks it’s a great learning opportunity for the children.
“Being outdoors and having a hands-on setting is good for
the kids,” Harden said. “Even though it was cold, everyone had great attitudes
Many teachers agreed that the stations took what students
were learning in class through science standards in a textbook and helped them
be able to understand it.
Melissa Griggs, a fourth-grade teacher at Suncrest, said the
event takes science standards they learned in class and puts them in a real-life
“The event is geared toward the kids and is very applicable
to where they live in Frankfort,” Griggs said.
Stephanie Franklin, a teacher at Green Meadows Intermediate
Ele mentary School, said although the students live in a small town, it doesn’t
mean they know about farming or agriculture.
“I never learned how important farming is until I started
teaching in a small community,” she said. “A camp like this shows them the
The camp can also show students possible career options,
“Being able to show them the big picture is helpful for
them, and seeing the presenters can give them ideas for what they want to do in
the future,” she said. “The more you can teach them about the real world, the
more options they have.”
Alyssa Geswein, a fourth-grade teacher at Suncrest, said the
event was an important learning opportunity.
“My dad, who is a farmer, would say it is important for kids
to know what they are eating and where it comes from,” Geswein said. “I agree
Workshop leaders also spoke of the importance of children
learning about agriculture, farming and conservation.
Many stations, including the swine production station,
became a learning experience for kids. Clark Beard, Farm Bureau board member,
usually brings pigs to the event each year, but because of the porcine epidemic
diarrhea virus affecting piglets, it wasn’t a safe.
Instead, Beard used the opportunity to talk about the virus,
as well as other facts about pigs and how they’re raised.
Beard said the camp teaches kids where food comes from.
“A lot of kids don’t get out of classroom, and teaching them
how involved agriculture is by showing them first-hand is a great learning
opportunity for them,” he said.