On Friday, I had the pleasure of being a parental chaperone-type with Will on his latest field trip, which was to “Rural Education Days” at the Washtenaw County Fairgrounds. Will’s teacher told me that this is an annual event that involves pretty much all of the third graders in the county to learn about agriculture and such. Here are a few highlights, complete with photos:
I drove myself out to the event– because I had plans after it was over, because there was no room on the bus, and because who really wants to ride on a bus with a bunch of third graders anyway?– and was quickly instructed where not to park.
The program began with an Abraham Lincoln impersonator giving a talk about agriculture and related products and industries in Michigan (sorry about the photo– I guess it was dusty in there). Given the fact that Lincoln didn’t have any connection to the farm economy of Michigan (unless I’m missing something), I have no idea why it was this guy doing the talking. I guess because this guy likes to dress up like Lincoln and because everyone thinks Abe Lincoln is cool.
Here is a picture of my charges petting a cow of some sort; you can’t see the cow since it’s behind the kids, but believe me it was there.
As you can imagine, there were many other animals that could be petted and held and admired by the kids. Here’s Will and a friend with a turkey. There was a stall that was letting the kids hold a chicken, but Will would have none of that. Of course, there was little attention paid to the fact that these cute and fuzzy animals are darn good eating.
There were many interesting talks and presentations at Rural Education Daze, including one on corn, soil erosion (I kid you not– both of these were interesting), and on dairy. But Will’s favorite was the barn where the kids walked around and sampled different Michigan agricultural products.
One more funny thing, sans photo. The dairy exhibit consisted of a college kid who talked about how cows are milked and how milk is processed. He stood behind a table with various dairy cow things (the do-hickey they use for milking, for example), and in front of a pen which held– surprise, surpise– a dairy cow. Just as our group 75+ third graders was filing in and finding places in the bleachers, the cow took the opportunity to pee. And when a cow pees, it is like a freaking fire hose of pee coming out of the back end. There was a loud and collective “EEEWWWW!!!” that simultaneously expressed horror and fascination and approval at the act. The cow appeared unmoved. I thought she was going to cap it off by taking a shit, but no such luck.
Anyway, it was a pretty cool field trip– very well done, interesting, entertaining, and incredibly efficient. The handout I received as a parental chaperone-type said students would be getting back on the buses at 12:06 and damned if the kids weren’t loading up right on time.