Chickens and honeybees and worms, oh my

April 30, 2002 11:00 pm

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

More than 200 Calaveras fourth and fifth-grade students converged on the county fairgrounds south of Angels Camp Tuesday morning for the sixth annual Ag Awareness Day.

The youngsters learned about tractor safety, livestock, bees and honey, poultry, beef cattle, earthworms, forestry and many other aspects of agriculture in the county.

"We want young people to have an appreciation of where their food comes from and how some of it is produced," said Eloise Fischer, one of the coordinators of Tuesday's Ag Awareness Day. "We also want them to appreciate the agricultural heritage of Calaveras County."

Fischer is chairwoman of the Calaveras County Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom Committee. The bureau sponsored Tuesday's event.

"The Farm Bureau likes to inform people about the role of agriculture in everybody's lives," she said.

As the children arrived with their teachers and parents, they were greeted with clucking and crowing from the poultry exhibit.

Poultry exhibitors Sheaniece Haas from Vallecito Union Home School Academy, Leonila Coulter from Bret Harte High School and Lea-Marie and Steven Paar, home-schooled students from Rail Road Flat, talked to the visiting fourth and fifth-graders about chickens they are raising.

"We want to show them how many different kinds of chickens there are," said Haas. "These chickens are not for eating, but just for show."

In addition to learning about chickens, the children watched farrier Jim Bertrand create horseshoes with his hammer and anvil, explored a livestock tractor-trailer and watched potter Dolores Mast turn wet gray clay into a cup.

"I showed them how we turn (hard, yellow) clay from Valley Springs into potter's clay and then what can be made from it," she said.

In all, the children viewed 17 separate agriculture-related displays during their 9 to 11 a.m. Ag Day field trip, said Fischer.

Participants were from Christian Family Learning Center and Mountain Oaks, Rail Road Flat and Valley Springs elementary schools.