Every May, during the Spokane Junior Livestock Show, regional fourth and fifth graders learn how farm products get to our tables, how farming is a business in this region, that animals and crops need protection, what by-products are used from animals and crops and much more! This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the variety of crops and animals that are produced in Eastern Washington and how vital agriculture is to our economy and the impact it has on Washington State. Industry and association leaders as well as FFA students volunteer their time to spend two days educating more than 1400 students and parents along with 49 teachers about the importance of agriculture to this region and it’s economy! Stations students visit include wheat and grains, wool, sheep, dairy, products made with milk, goats, beef, bees, soils, chickens, 4-H opportunities and importing and exporting. The 2017 Farm Fair program was sponsored by Crop Production Services.
Piloted in 1998, this program takes sixth grade students to the Forest Service Nursery in Coeur d’Alene. They work with foresters and nursery staff learning skills such as measuring tree height, disease identification, assessing shoot to root ratios and determining seed germination rates. During the week more than 350 sixth grade students and parents as well as 15 teachers learned about forestry and the forest industry. Students had the opportunity to work directly with foresters in the woods learning about forest management, tree identification and measurement and careers in forestry. Students also spent half the day in the nursery working with nursery staff learning what they do on a daily basis and how the nursery runs. To finish the segment on forestry, they also learned how to calculate shoot to root ratios. Scholarships in 2017 for student transportation and/or registration fees were provided through industry companies such as Boise Cascade, Columbia Cedar, Hansen Logging, Vaagen Brothers Lumber and Stimson Lumber. The program sponsors were Hancock Forest Management and the Idaho Forest Product Commission. Volunteers joined us from Idaho Forest Group, Stimson Lumber, U.S Forest Service Coeur d’Alene Nursery, Boise Cascade, Hancock Forest Management and Spokane Conservation District.
At Liberty Lake every September, 600 fifth grade students participate in hands-on activities with natural resource professionals. Volunteers from the Spokane Conservation District, West Valley Outdoor Learning Center, Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, Spokane County Utilities, Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District, Spokane Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited and Avista lend their time and professional knowledge to the program. The students attend presentations on water and geology, fish painting, groundwater, the Spokane aquifer, water conservation, water jeopardy, the watershed, benthic bugs , fish homes and habitat, keeping drinking water safe, uses of water for recreation, the water cycle and how wildlife (birds) need water to survive. When asked what they thought of the educational component of the day, one fifth grade teacher responded “The stations were great. I liked that each one had a different aspect of water. The kids were very engaged. My students would never be exposed to these things on their own so it was nice they got to see so much and had experiences they will remember for a long time.” The 2017 program was being funded through a grant from the Avista Foundation.
Piloted in October of 1998, this program was created to expose 300 fourth grade students, teachers and parent chaperones to modern mining and the important role it plays in supplying society’s everyday needs. The Model Mine is specifically designed to educate students about the many facets of modern mining and the vital role it plays in their everyday lives.
Students spent time at various workstations that focused on geology, the necessity of modern mining, the mining process, gold panning, mine safety and reclamation. They also toured an open pit mine at Central Pre-Mix and learned how concrete was made. A local 4th grade teacher stated that “The presentations were fantastic and all presenters were engaging and full of info – hands-on learning is the best way to go!”