|With the help of Zenaida Viloria, a UK research analyst, the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center exposes students to agriculture. A UK Sustainability Challenge Grant made it possible for Viloria to team up with Abby Smith, a 4th grade teacher from a Lyon County Elementary School, and Laura White, an assistant principle at Caldwell County Elementary, to create a program that teaches students about agriculture by reinforcing what they learned in the classroom with hands on activities. Students learn about a variety of topics including earthworm composting, energy conservation, soil, plants, and insects.
Viloria worked with the schools to provide four raised garden beds for each school. The students filled the beds with a variety of vegetables and will continue to maintain the gardens throughout the summer with the help of school faculty. Students went to the research and education center twice in the spring to learn more about gardening and will return in the fall, hopefully with a healthy harvest from the beds.
Getting students excited about agriculture and gardening is extremely important as it may lead them to a career in these areas. As of right now, the agriculture industry needs more people to fill crucial jobs that offer good salaries, however they cannot find the people to fill the openings. Hopefully, by making agriculture fun, students will be more drawn to more agriculturally centered jobs and the industry will plug the openings it currently has with qualified individuals.
To learn more about this program from the University of Kentucky, read more here.
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