Tag Archives: field trip

Experience the farm with a Dairy Farm Field Trip!

Leaves are turning, pumpkin spice is back, school is in session, … yes, Fall is in the air. The rush of back to school amidst the ‘new normal’ leaves many teachers looking for safe and educational field trips for their students. 

Field trips give students an opportunity to learn beyond the walls of their classrooms and engage all their senses. Farm tours give them opportunities to see and learn about future career opportunities in agriculture, discover how their food is produced and meet local farmers. 

The pandemic has certainly changed field trips, but opportunities are still available for students and teachers. A field trip to a local dairy farm includes a lot of time outside, which provides fresh air and a safe way to explore during a global pandemic. 

Dairy farm tours can be offered through the classroom, co-op, learning pod, or scout troop. The Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington even offer an opportunity to earn a dairy patch through a dairy field trip! 

There are so many ways to discover dairy … which will you choose? 

In-Person Dairy Farm Tours

Dairy farm tours offer an opportunity for students to be in-person, and there is plenty of space outdoors to socially distance as students learn how milk gets from the farm to their local grocery stores. They are often able to pet [baby] calves, watch how the farmer cares for his or her animals and see  the cows that produce the milk that then becomes their favorite dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. 

For information on Oregon dairy farms that are currently offering free in-person tours, simply fill out the form here.

Virtual Dairy Farm Tours

Classrooms unable to travel also have opportunities to learn directly from the farmer through virtual tours. Virtual tours can be catered to the classroom’s specific learning needs and are available live or pre-recorded. 

Want to learn about calf care or cow nutrition? Many of these tours have already been recorded and specific topics can be requested. Oregon dairy farms work closely with Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom to create an enriching virtual tour experience which could also include an inquiry box filled with items they would discover on the farm. This give the students an opportunity to touch and smell and see what the farmer is showing them on the screen. 

For free pre-recorded virtual tours, visit Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom’s virtual tour resource. 

Dairy Presentations from a Dairy Princess Ambassador 

The Oregon Dairy Women offer a unique opportunity for students to learn about dairy through their Dairy Princess Ambassador Program. This program provides free 20 to 30-minute educational presentations for students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 from county and state Dairy Princess Ambassadors. They offer educational resources for a variety of virtual activities that can be incorporated into the classroom.

Topics include:

  • Milk—The journey from farm to table
  • Dairy farmers and the environment
  • Dairy technology throughout time
  • Stakeholders in the dairy industry. 

For more information on the Dairy Princess Ambassador Program and request a classroom presentation, click here

Adopt a Farmer

Through Oregon Ag Link, classrooms can “Adopt a Farmer” for the school year. In addition to a field trip, the farmer will visit the classroom to engage students in the science behind farming. 

For more information, email Oregon Aglink. 

Adopt A Cow

Does your classroom need a mascot? Consider adopting a cow for the school year. Through this free program, you will receive communications and photos from a farmer to educate your students about the life and care of your dairy cow. Children will learn her name, birthday and where she lives in addition to receiving activity sheets to further their learning. 

For more information on the Adopt-A-Cow program, click here.


 

 

Virtual Tours Bring Dairy Farms to the Classroom

There’s a new way for classrooms to take field trips, thanks to technology. Instead of bringing kids to the farm, we’re bringing dairies to a school near you.

In schools nationwide, it isn’t always possible for students to take educational field trips due to time or funding constraints and transportation logistics. These field trips are missed among teachers and students alike, as they can play an integral part of the learning process. Field trips are also one of the best ways to learn about agriculture.

IMG_1147

“Field trips help students see, experience and learn about agriculture straight from the source. Students love the opportunity to experience something new, and teachers welcome the opportunity for a guest to share with their class,” says Jessica Jansen, Executive Director for Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.

Thanks to technology, there is a new way to learn about agriculture without ever having to board a school bus. It’s as simple as connecting via a smartphone and laptop for a virtual tour.

Recently, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council partnered with Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom to host a virtual field trip at Rickreall Dairy. “It is incredibly important in my industry to educate students about what we do on a dairy farm,” says Louie Kazemier, owner of Rickreall Dairy, who also hosts traditional field trips every spring for more than 1,500 people yearly. “It gives students an opportunity to learn about where their food comes from, and also encourages them to think about career opportunities in agriculture.”

Agriculture in the Classroom, a nationwide educational program, is designed to help students develop an awareness and understanding that agriculture is the source of our food, clothing, shelter and other essentials. “At Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom we are passionate about connecting academic concepts to agricultural topics, and virtual farm field trips are a great way to do just that,” says Jansen. “We’re providing students the opportunity to witness new and exciting topics while showing them how this connects to what they are learning in the classroom.”

IMG_6049

For a dairy virtual tour, teachers sign up though the Agriculture in the Classroom website. A limited number of classrooms can sign up, and the first tour was booked in less than 24 hours. A week prior to the tour, the classroom receives a sensory box to explore items that they will view during the tour. For dairy farming, they focus on items that students can touch and smell like alfalfa, grain, and ear tags.

There are opportunities to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) though virtual tours. Whether it’s the math of converting pounds of milk into gallons, or the science of animal nutrition, STEM learning opportunities are abundant on a dairy farm.

“Through a field trip we provide students and educators context and relevancy with examples of why it’s important to know math, science and other content areas. The math alone on a dairy farm is extensive and helping students see how important it is and it being used is priceless for students,” says Jansen.

IMG_1155

The tours are filmed live using Zoom videoconferencing, but there are other platforms that could be used as well. “We recently brought 500 3rd through 5th graders through our barns in a little under an hour just by using Zoom,” says Kazemier, “and not only do they get to hear me explain what they are seeing on the screen, but they also get to ask their own questions in real-time.”

“One of my goals at the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council is to make it as easy as possible for dairy farmers to share their farms with students,” says Stacy Foster, Industry Relations and Communications Manager at ODNC. “Dairy farmers are incredibly busy. Virtual tours provide an opportunity for us to reach across the state of Oregon to hundreds of students in only one hour.”

Kazemier also appreciates that virtual tours can educate beyond traditional field trips. “There are places on a dairy farm that we would never go with students due to concerns of liability, biosecurity and cleanliness. With the virtual tour, we can literally give classrooms a “backstage pass” to our facility. They get to walk where the cows walk, and get up close and personal with our animals,” says Louie Kazemier.

IMG_6048

“While virtual farm field trips shouldn’t be a replacement for all farm field trips, it’s a great way to reach students who might not ever have the opportunity for a field trip,” says Jansen. Agriculture in the Classroom has plans to continue the program, with dairy and other agriculture sectors. “We’ll be planning two more dairy field trips, a series of two ranch-related tours this spring and a few crop-related experiences. Interested teachers can sign up for updates on our website.”

RELATED LINKS:

Virtual Farm Field Trip at Rickreall Dairy 

Calf Barn Virtual Field Trip at Rickreall Dairy