Ag Adventure Day
Ag Adventure Day at the Red River Zoo Helps Kids Understand Modern Agriculture
Story by: CGND Staff
Kids were climbing on farm equipment, plunging their hands in buckets of corn and digging for worms during the third annual Agriculture Adventure Day at the Red River Zoo in Fargo, North Dakota. Families enjoyed free admission for kids and a free lunch during this August event.
At Ag Adventure Passport Headquarters, kids were greeted by Suzie Soybean and Bob the Cob. Kids received Ag Passports with four activities that they had to find throughout the zoo grounds. Once kids completed an activity, their passport was stamped. After the four activities in the passport received stamps, kids received a fun prize at the end!
At the first activity, sponsored by Amity and RDO, kids of all ages had the opportunity to climb around farm equipment. Kids asked questions about farming and how the farmers use the equipment throughout the growing season.
The next activity was rich in soil health. NDSU Extension Soil Health volunteers helped kids dig in the soil to find worms. USDA-NRCS volunteers answered questions about soil health and also talked about conservation practices on modern farms. Finally, there was a giant blow-up soil tunnel to walk through with information on the sides for kids to read about what makes up healthy soil. NDSU Extension Soil Health Specialist, Red River Valley Zoo Board Member and Coordinator to the Ag Adventure Day event Dr. Abbey Wick talked about how this event helps kids learn about the modern farm and that soil is definitely a key component to a farm’s success. “The number one resource farmers have is their soil. It’s their legacy, it’s what is passed down to their kids and the next generation,” says Dr. Wick.
The third activity, sponsored by the Extension Master Gardner Program of NDSU Plant Sciences, centered around how to create beautiful garden spaces that are friendly to pollinators. The volunteers also answered many questions regarding event attendees’ lawns, gardens and trees.
Farmers were on hand at the final Agriculture Passport activity, which gave kids the opportunity to ask about their crops. Representing the North Dakota Soybean Council (NDSC) and the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council (NDCUC), these farmers were eager to share information and were able to do a “show and tell” of the different crops. NDSC Director Rob Rose of Wimbledon was one of the farmers that stamped their passports and answered kids’ questions about farming. “This event is great for kids. Many of them are removed from the farm and so for us to bring the farm to them it just makes sense. They get to see many aspects of the farm here at the zoo, like the crops growing and the ability to climb into tractors, they get a good experience and with that comes a lot of great questions,” says Rose.
Even after passports were filled with stamps, many stayed for the Penny and Pals show, checked out the Modern Agriculture Exhibit (open all year long!), played some crop match games with 4-H volunteers, created corn and soybean necklaces (that they were able to plant at home later) and also talked with CommonGround North Dakota (CGND) volunteers about food and farming.
CGND Volunteer and North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) Grower Services Director Elli Ressler was happy to share her crop and livestock production experiences with event attendees. “As a CGND Volunteer, I was able to answer questions about food and farming. Families have many questions about food and how it is produced. I’m glad we were able to connect and have meaningful conversations with them during the Agriculture Adventure Day event,” says Ressler.
Agriculture Adventure Day was made possible by generous partners and sponsors of many North Dakota agriculture commodity groups and industry, including NDSC, NDCUC and CGND.