Hands on learning at Farmington Fair

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Ceceilia Courtney, 6, of Livermore Falls explores a tractor at the Farmington Fair during Agriculture Education Day Monday. (Dee Menear/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

FARMINGTON –More than 1,100 students and chaperones from Franklin County and beyond attended Agriculture Education Day at Farmington Fair Monday.

“This is about teaching agriculture to students. It gives them a chance to learn about something they don’t get a chance to learn in school,” said Franklin County Agriculture Association president Randy Hall.

Attendees were able to interact with farm animals, sit on farming equipment, sample applesauce, learn about composting, experience history and more.

John Brenner of Spruce Mountain High School’s Envirothon team explains the characteristics of a pig skull to students attending Agriculture Education Day at the Farmington Fair Monday. (Dee Menear/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade were invited to the event, which has taken place annually since 1993. Attendees represented Franklin, Androscoggin, and Kennebec counties.

“Close to 50 presenters did a great job answering questions and giving out information to the students,” said Rosetta White, Executive Director of the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Susan Small, staff member of the Red School House, said the event was a great way to introduce students to agriculture.

“Schools can’t afford field trips. This is open to schools at no charge so students can come to learn and experience a rural, agricultural way of life,” she said.

Older students were involved by giving demonstrations. Under the direction of teacher Tom Piekart, Phillips Elementary School eighth-grade students pressed cider. Members of Spruce Mountain High School’s Envirothon Team taught animal identification using skulls, hides, and tracks.

Blended group of home school students and 4-H members prepared samples of fresh applesauce. Cape Cod Hill School student Ava Davis, 9, of New Sharon said she had never had fresh applesauce.

“It is very thick and really good,” she said.

Her classmate Elsa Feegel, 9, of New Sharon said, “It’s not as sweet as what we get in the store but still very good.”

Farmington Fire Department, Farmington Police Department, and NorthStar Ambulance were also part of the event. Children lined up for a chance to explore vehicles and try out equipment. Hall said the emergency services providers approached him about volunteering for the event.

“Having them here means there is that much more for kids to do. It’s good for them to get to know emergency service providers. Kids need to know they are there for them,” said Hall.

dmenear@thefranklinjournal.com