Students enjoy ‘down on the farm’ lessons

Students splashed in the creek, came face to face with the animals, and learned about sustainable farming.

On Monday, third through fifth graders from Sugar Grove and Russell elementary schools visited the VanOrd Farm. Kindergarten through second grade will make the trip Tuesday.

There were nine stations at the farm and surroundings and the VanOrds, community volunteers, Warren County School District educators, coaches, and students, and officials from the Allegheny National Forest, Warren County Conservation District, and the Warren County Penn State Cooperative Extension led the students through a variety of activities and learning opportunities.

Barry VanOrd showed the students around the farm.

Brittnee Shows of the ANF helped students identify creatures they found in the creek that runs through the farm.

Students learned hiking and survival skills from Greg Kolenda of the conservation district.

With the temperature over 80 degrees, the students cooled off as they sat in the shade and listened to Native American lore presented by Mark Davis.

Don Watts introduced the students to birding.

Students got their hands dirty at “making good soil” with Heather Wilcox and Laura Ayers of the conservation district.

Jennifer Grooms of the cooperative extension presented information about wind and harnessing wind for energy.

Chuck Keeports of the ANF taught students about finding their way with map and compass – orienteering.

There was also a physical fitness component of the activity. Eisenhower High School Cross Country Assistant Coach Ryan Hoffman and team members worked with students.

The younger students will visit similar stations.

“We at VanOrd Farm feel a responsibility to move sustainability forward by providing educational opportunities for children as well as adults,” Tammy VanOrd said. “This is a day for the children to explore nature, hold a chicken, witness a sheep shearing, and just enjoy learning outdoors.”