The Wallenpaupack Area South Elementary School welcomed the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Ag Lab to their campus to teach students about farming and agriculture.
- The Wallenpaupack Area South Elementary School welcomed the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Ag Lab to their campus to teach students about farming and agriculture.
Students in first through fifth grade participated in the program, which started Wednesday and ends today.
"The Farm Bureau wants to get information out about farming and agriculture," said Sally Weiskotten, one of the instructors with the ag lab. "About 25 percent of jobs in Pennsylvania are in agriculture."
This is her fourth year teaching with the ag lab.
She said that there are grants to help cover the cost of the program.
"We want schools to be able to have us," she said.
In Pennsylvania there are six different ag labs with about 20 teachers. Weiskotten said it is "one of the biggest" as well as "one of the first" in the nation. Maryland also has a program and the directors work closely together.
"Our director also goes to other states to get information out about the labs to encourage other areas to start the program," she said. "Not all states have ag labs."
Weiskotten said this is the "10th year" the ag lab has been existent in Pennsylvania. She added that it started out with one lab and one teacher.
"We cover the whole state with the ag labs," she said.
She said there are "30 different labs" to choose from. There are 10 for primary, 10 for grades 3-5 and 10 for middle school.
"We focus on science because that has a lot to do with agriculture," she stated.
This is the first time the ag lab has come to the Wallenpaupack School District.
"They seemed pretty excited to have us," Weiskotten said. "We've found that when we go to schools, about 85 percent of the time they have us back, so I think it's a sign the program is well-received."
She said she feels it's a "great program" and that it's "very well-run."
"We're constantly improving things about it," Weiskotten stated.
"Carroll Krautter, who works with the Farm Bureau and the fairgrounds, asked if we would be interested in having the ag lab at the school," said Mark Kirsten, principal of the Wallenpaupack South Elementary School. "We got some grants to cover most of the cost. I think it's a great idea."
He said that we still have a rural background in the community so it's important for students to learn about agriculture and the history of the area and farming.
"There are many labs to choose from," Kirsten said. "The younger kids learn about tops and bottoms with vegetables and how they grow, and the older students learn about hand-washing and germs and the proper way to take care of them."
Kirsten added that they are looking to do the program again in the future.
"If we can get grants to help support it, then we really hope we can do it again," he said. "The kids loved it and they're learning a lot. They seem to enjoy it."
Kirsten said they "feel fortunate" to have the ag lab at the school.
"We appreciate the Farm Bureau working with us to schedule this," he said. "We're happy with the partnership."