Windsor school district’s agriculture fair is hopefully the start of a new tradition
October 30, 2015
Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District fourth graders got their hands dirty while they dug into agriculture, learning about science, the history of Windsor, Colo., and more at the district's agriculture fair Oct. 2.
The fair took over the gymnasium and grounds at Grandview Elementary School for almost the whole day. Exhibitors filled the available spaces and gave students a chance to learn about everything from alpacas to farm equipment and bee keeping.
Bringing agriculture into the curriculum isn't new for Windsor-Severance students. It's quickly growing as a facet of the district's diverse education opportunities.
Last year the Roots and Shoots program at Skyview Elementary School put on an agriculture fair that offered educational opportunities to their classmates in the morning and opened to the public in the afternoon.
It was a hit for the school, and Skyview teacher Kendra Jacoby saw great potential to expand the idea.
Working with Grandview teacher Andy Klatt and Windsor High School agriculture teachers Melinda Spaur and Jarrod Bessire, Jacoby brought the agriculture fair back, but this time bigger and better.
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A few years ago, Jacoby and a few other teachers started looking at how to leverage the agricultural industry to build on what students had to learn in the classroom.
"(Agriculture) fits into so many state standards, and it's fun, and it's interesting and it's all around us," she said.
From history to life science, looking at the agriculture resource lets students see the real-life uses of their classroom learning and it keeps them engaged and excited, Jacoby said.
"They're so excited about it, because it's all so hands-on," she said. "They can see how science and history are living right here (around them) every day."
Events like the agriculture fair expose students to crop productions and life cycles, water and it's impact on life and society, where food comes from and more. For a town like Windsor, Colo., which was born as an agricultural community, it also teaches history.
"As we continue to see more generational gaps in agriculture, it is more important than ever to educate our youth about food production, agriscience and an appreciation for agriculture," said Bessire, Windsor High School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.
"Knowing that agriculturalists must double their food production by the year 2050 to keep up with worldly demand, it is this current generation of students that will be charged with solving this puzzle in the future," he said.
This month's agriculture fair had a morning and afternoon session, Jacoby said. During each session, fourth grade students from all the schools in the district could move in groups from exhibitor to exhibitor.
"The energy level was amazing," Jacoby said.
The students were excited to see everything the fair had to offer, she said.
"We have wanted to facilitate a district-wide experience for quite some time," Bessire said. "Amazingly, all of the variables and resources came together at the perfect time and we all made the vision become a reality."
It took tremendous administrative and community support to make the fair happen, he said. But it was a success, effectively communicating the message of agriculture to approximately 350 fourth-grade students across the Windsor-Severance school district.
Klatt, Spaur, Bessire and Jacoby all want to see the event come back again, Jacoby said.
"It is our hope to make this an annual event and to grow this experience to an even higher level of agriculture education," Bessire said.
The district needs something like the agriculture fair that can let students get the hands-on learning they enjoy so much, Jacoby said.
In future years, they might try rotating the host school of the event, or even finding a centralized location outside of district facilities.
"We're kind of playing with different ideas," she said.
They don't know exactly what their future agriculture programs will look like. Right now they're just trying to grow a tradition. ❖