By Melanie Taylor
Extension Agent II
4-H/Family & Consumer Sciences
The fifth-graders from Port St. Joe Elementary School participated in the 2013 Annual 4-H Ag Adventures Field Day. Ag Adventures is an educational, agricultural awareness program which is held annually at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) in Quincy. It is coordinated by extension agents in the participating counties (Gulf, Calhoun, Liberty, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla, and Jefferson) and the NFREC faculty and staff. The program is geared toward elementary school students, and approximately 1,000 students participate each year.
Participants learned about pumpkins, soybeans, cotton, soil, corn, and peanuts and their economic importance in our local and national industries.
In addition to learning about these commodities and concepts, youth enjoyed fresh boiled peanuts, roasted peanuts, and popcorn popped in a kettle right there in the field, and more. Students explored the field crops and a six foot deep soil pit.
Leaving on a tractor-pulled-wagon with their own sugar pumpkin in-hand, youth were encouraged to bake pumpkin pies and roast the seeds to share with their families. This field day took youth on an agricultural journey from the seed to the consumer.
Many thanks to the NFREC faculty and staff, participating schools, program volunteers, Farm Bureau, and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida for their continued support. The results of the combined contributions of these supporters are manifested in average student learning gains each year.
Since 2010, evaluation results have shown that 67 percent (n=3,484) of youth participants strongly agree that without agriculture, they would not be able to enjoy products such as popcorn, peanut butter, or denim and 81 percent (n=4,212) strongly agreed that the program helped them understand and appreciate how agriculture affects their everyday lives. Additionally, 45 percent (n=2,340) of participants reported that they planned on sharing with their parents why agriculture is important.
4-H is a youth development program for youth ages 5-18 that is assisted greatly by adult volunteers. If you are interested in participating as an adult volunteer please contact Melanie Taylor at the Gulf County Extension Office. Reach her at 639-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.