COVINGTON — Farming and agriculture were celebrated in high spirits in the Covington Exempted Village School district on Tuesday, as hundreds of kids engaged in activities during the third annual Happy Harvest Day.
Approximately 480 students, grades K-5, were rotated through four different stations, which were operated by 20 participating high schoolers from Covington’s FFA chapter.
Stations included soybean production, in which students learned about how soybeans and other crops are planted and grown, and butter-making, in which students assisted in producing butter from scratch.
Beekeeper Dwight Wells was on site to give an orientation on bees and other pollinators, and an interactive outdoor area allowed kids to observe farm equipment and live animals.
“This is an activity run through our AG Literacy committee,” said FFA instructor Jessica Helsinger. “The whole idea is that my high school students want the elementary kids to have a greater understanding and respect for agriculture and what it does for them every day.
“They teach a little about the techniques and so forth, but they also start the activity out today by making huge thank-you cards for farmers that will be delivered to ag businesses in our area. We want to create consumers that know to show respect to that guy on the tractor on the road, and respect everything that goes into producing their food.”
Helsinger feels the experience is beneficial not only for elementary students, but also for high school students, given the opportunity it presents them to connect with a younger generation.
“I’ve heard two things from my students this morning — first, that they were so impressed with things the elementary kids already knew, but then also that they’ve been able to bring understanding to kids about things they didn’t know,” Helsinger said. “They were talking about corn production, and a third grader brought up Ethanol. My kids were blown away that they already knew about that. On the other hand, there’s students who didn’t connect that milk is produced from cows, because they’ve never seen that in action.”
Helsinger and her students hope that Happy Harvest Day will continue to educate and enlighten the public on the importance of local agriculture.
“It’s an event that we do for the elementary students, but the effect hopefully then reaches out into the community,” Helsinger said. “We’re going to deliver those thank-you posters to ag businesses, and we’re hoping that farmers see that appreciation. Drivers and other students might see my students driving their tractors in or wondering what they’re doing today instead of regular classes.
“Ohio Corn and Wheat donated some flyers and brochures to hand out, and we have some pollination information at the beekeeper station. Not only when the students have those, but then when they go home, Mom and Dad may look in their backpack and see them, and then we’re educating more consumers with that information.”
For more information, visit www.covington.k12.oh.us.