The Worcester County UME 4-H Farm Visit was a collaboration with the Worcester County Board of Education, University of Maryland Extension (UME) 4-H, Agriculture, EFNEF and STEM educators from the lower eastern shore and University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).
This was the third year for the farm to school visit. The program is held at the county public elementary schools by the Worcester County 4-H program. The five elementary schools that have participated annually include Buckingham, Ocean City, Pocomoke, Showell and Snow Hill. Worcester County 4-H and their programming partners provide various animals and educational tools to supplement each of the learning stations. There are five hands-on learning stations that make up the farm to school program: Hatching Chicks, Making Butter, Getting Your Goat, Milking Cows and Wiggly Worms. Throughout the course of the program held over 5 days, Worcester County UME 4-H educates with approximately 500 first grade youth and teachers offering hands on agriculture education to the youth.
This is a very rewarding program for the youth and the teachers in Worcester County. Many youth have never held a baby chick or made their own butter. They are fascinated to learn that worms can "breakdance" and that baby goats are "kids" too! The milking cow station allows them the opportunity to milk a "pretend cow" to teach them where milk really doesn't come from the store but from the cow that is raised by the farmer.
One child summed it up when she said, "Thank you for bringing your baby chicks, I have never held one before and they are so cute!"
The hands on learning stations allow for experiential learning where children learn through engagement and participation outside of the traditional classroom. Children are naturally drawn to group work and exploration of new objects – in this case farm animals!
Many children in today’s society have a disconnect of where food comes from due to many families now being three generations removed from being involved with farming. The goal of this Worcester County UME 4-H farm to school program is to not just teach our children about agriculture, but to make them more aware of where their food comes from and that farm animals have a useful purpose.
For additional information pertaining to the school programs offered by Worcester County UME 4-H, please contact 410-632-1972 or visit http://www.extension.umd.edu/worcester-county. Be sure to follow them on Facebook for all the up to date events and happenings in the county!