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Hundreds Participate in Annual Hands-On Agriculture Day in Moundsville

Central Elementary students from left: Feona Ren, Xayne Belvachir, and Landin Geho look over a bee exhibit while learning about pollination.

MOUNDSVILLE — Hundreds of Marshall County fifth graders were provided a chance to gain firsthand knowledge about agriculture and where their food comes from during the annual Hands-On Ag Day event at the Marshall County Fairgrounds.

Hosted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Northern Panhandle Conservation District Wednesday, small groups of students rotated through 11 different hands-on stations, which touched on different aspects of agriculture, including livestock, produce and gardening, forestry, soil and water conservation.

The event’s aim is provide students a better understanding of what agriculture is and how it plays a role in their own lives.

NRCS district conservationist Katie Fitzsimmons said the event is a huge success because of the support from the school board, local agriculture agencies and organizations. Since 2009, the program has proven to reach over 350 students from eight public and private schools each year.

“The day is really unique because students gain firsthand knowledge about different aspects of agriculture in their county,” Fitzsimmons said. “For the kids, it’s important for them to learn about how agriculture actually works and alleviate common misconceptions of where their food actually comes from.”

Fitzsimmons said they focus on fifth grade students because it is an age group where they feel the students are mature enough to understand the educational sessions.

Retired Marshall County school teacher, Mark Fitzsimmons, who serves as the Northern Panhandle Conservation District supervisor, said they want the kids to better understand different aspects of agriculture.

“We want these kids to go home and know that milk doesn’t come from aisle 17,” he said.

One Washington Lands student said she was excited about participating in this year’s Ag Day, as she shook a container of cream while learning how butter is made at the dairy station. She said she enjoyed fun learning about different aspects of agriculture.

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