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Agricultural Awareness Day at North Buncombe High
Agricultural Awareness Day at North Buncombe High
Posted on 09/19/2019
The Sept. 18 Ag Day was orchestrated by NBHS’ FFA club and brought together second grade students from across the North Buncombe district. Photos/Article By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

North Buncombe High FFA students teach about different horse riding techniques.Grace, a Weaverville Elementary second-grader, loves baby goats and wants to be a farm animal veterinarian someday. That’s why she was thrilled about her class field trip to North Buncombe High for Agricultural Awareness Day (“Ag Day”). The children enjoyed up-close, hands-on interactions with numerous animals and learned from experienced, older students in the high school's Future Farmers of America (FFA) club.

“The baby goats are my favorite because they are really cute,” Grace said with a smile.

The Sept. 18 Ag Day was orchestrated by North Buncombe High’s FFA club and brought together second grade students from across the North Buncombe district. The older students set up exhibits outside where they could teach the younger students about their animals and projects. In one area, students gathered around a bottle-fed calf. Other areas housed several breeds of goats and poultry. FFA students rode horses and explained the differences between English and Western riding techniques. There were also lessons about agricultural mechanics, horticulture, aquatics, and more. It felt like a mini state fair. The younger students circulated among the displays, helping to feed and care for the animals, and learning about the many ways that agricultural affects our everyday lives.

“I think the most interesting thing here today is the cows,” said Mason, a Weaverville student. “I want to be a person who helps animals around the world.”

North Buncombe Agriculture teacher Mr. Justin Gillespie was proud of his FFA students for making Ag Day a success. He explained that while the event was planned around the elementary students, the high schoolers were challenged to grow in their planning, public speaking, presentation, and organizational skills.

North Buncombe FFA club members stand with one of their animals.“My students were rolling in at 6:45 this morning bringing livestock, equipment, and poultry,” said Mr. Gillespie. “They felt a lot of the responsibility and ownership of Ag Day, and were responsible for housing and caring for those animals- not just here, but at home, as well.”

Second-graders also learned about the opportunities available at the elementary level, such as 4H clubs and getting involved with local fairs, livestock shows, and horticulture events. At North Buncombe Middle School, students will be able to join the FFA club and take Agriculture classes with teacher Mr. Dave Penland.

Gillespie explained that the day’s activities were part of a larger Agricultural Education effort for students interested in the field. In North Carolina’s public schools, Agricultural Education is a three-part strategy involving classroom/laboratory instruction, FFA student organization opportunities, and Supervised Agricultural Experiences that put knowledge to the test through real-world projects outside of the classroom.

“Today was about opening their eyes and helping them become more aware of the agriculture around them,” Gillespie added.

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