South Lake Tahoe Farm Day brings agriculture to elementary students
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Nearly 700 Lake Tahoe Unified School District third- and fourth-graders got a taste of agriculture on Tuesday, Sept. 22, during the third annual South Lake Tahoe Farm Day at Camp Richardson.
“They learn all about different parts of agriculture they normally wouldn’t get to see up here in Lake Tahoe,” said Beth Quandt, the school district’s science outreach coordinator.
Students spent 25 minutes each at six stations learning about a variety of farming elements. Everything, from nutrition and soil to chickens and beekeepers, had a presence at the event.
At one station, third-grader Sophia Cecchi studied a honeycomb.
“Is there any honey in here?” Cecchi asked.
Meyers’ 152-year-old Celio Ranch brought in two horses, Rusty and Dusty, as part of the event. At one point the Celio family owned most of the land that now makes up Meyers.
“This is a great activity for kids this age because there aren’t a lot of farms and ranches in the Lake Tahoe Basin any more,” said ranch owner Tom Celio.
Farm Day started three years ago as a partnership between El Dorado County Ag in the Classroom, the school district and the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition.
Tahoe Resource Conservation District acts as the on-site coordinator.
According to Avis Jolly, Ag in the Classroom’s executive director, Farm Day adds another dimension to the Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s environmental curriculum.
“Agriculture is a huge part of El Dorado County’s economy on the other side of the mountain,” Jolly said. “This event helps expose the kids in Lake Tahoe who don’t know where their food comes from.”
South Lake Tahoe Farm Day mirrors the one in Placerville, Calif., which has been going on for 14 years.
Jolly added that the event broadens students’ understanding of El Dorado County as a whole. Ag in the Classroom provides educational material to teachers to continue agriculture lessons after Farm Day.
Angie Lind with the El Dorado Department of Education said the lessons fit in well with third- and fourth-graders.
“They’ve already moved beyond basic math and reading, and information is really starting to sink in,” Lind said. “An event like this can help spark an interest in the topic.”
Quandt, the district’s science outreach coordinator, agrees.
“The students get hands-on lessons on how agriculture fits into life,” Quandt said. “The kids don’t really understand the whole ‘where your food comes from’ concept so it’s really nice to get exposure for all involved.”