Hundreds of elementary-age students got a close look at agriculture at the 22nd annual Grown in Grey event held at the Desboro arena.
Students in small groups travel from each of the 32 stations where an aspect of agriculture is highlighted. This year subjects ranged from raising chickens to making maple syrup and from alpacas to farm safety.
This year’s event, held April 16 and 17, saw more demonstrations and as many as 270 students a day from area schools, including Hillcrest Elementary and East Ridge Community schools in Owen Sound, as well Macphail Memorial Elementary School in Flesherton and Sullivan Community School in Chatsworth, High Point Elementary School in Dundalk, Bruce Peninsula District School in Lion’s Head, Spruce Ridge Community School in Durham, Egremont Community School in Holstein and and Chesley District Community School. Also for the first time students from Glad Tidings Christian School, a Mennonite school near Tara, took part.
“I think it’s lovely, the kids are having a great time today, it caters to their age level and is a great way to get some extracurricular education,” said teacher Lynelle Brubacher, who noted is was the first she had heard of the event. Students from her school will be back again next year but thought other Mennonite schools might come as well.
Event manager Henry Reinders said it has been easy in the past couple of years to fill the student quota. “We put the announcement out in September when school starts and by October we’re booked,” he said.
Grown in Grey is put on each year by the Grey County Agricultural Society with a mission to further educate elementary school age children, especially those in grades 5 and 6, about what is happening in agriculture and related topics in the region.
During their lunch break students got to observe live demonstrations of sheep shearing, cow milking and cattle conformation with members of the Rocklyn 4-H club.
Dog trainer Kim Robertson gave a brief demonstration of obedience dog training with her dog Lexie. She was also one of the station demonstrators who talked about how to recognize potential aggressive behavior in dogs and how to prevent from being attacked. They include standing erect and gazing down at the ground or rolling up in ball as well as watching for signs of imminent attack by dogs such as licking their lips, yawning and being able to see the whites of their eyes.
“These are signs they might bite soon, they are stressed,” she said.
Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen was at the farm safety station.
“This is a great event for all the kids that come out and learn all about different aspects of the farm; through the farm safety association we try to instill safety around the farm and around equipment and the safety of having passengers on tractors that you make sure your seatbelt is on, make sure if you’re a young person that the operator of large equipment sees you,” he said
One of the newest volunteers was semiretired dairy farmer Bruce Saunders, who said he quite enjoyed his experience
“The kids are really into it. I’m amazed by the presenters, they know their stuff, they are relating to the kids,” he said.
Reinders said organizers are considering having an open house for the general public next year.
“That is something that the committee will look at. Personally I think it would be great,” Reinders said.