Conservation Notes: Education is Key to Understanding

08/19/2010 13:56

Two of my nieces were visiting the farm one day in July. My dad and I decided to take Alexandra and Brenna for a ride out to the fields in the Mule. On our way, we talked about the cows, butterflies we spotted and the native plants growing along the pasture fence. When we stopped beside a corn field and soybean field, I took the opportunity to explain and show the parts of the corn and soybean plants.The girls loved how soft the soybean leaves were to touch. They even had to pick one of the leaflets to take with them. I also showed them the delicate, purple blooms on the soybean plants. Dad then explained that the blooms will develop into pods with soybeans inside and will be harvested in the fall. As there was a warm, calm breeze that day, I simply stated that it was a pretty site seeing the soybean plants gently waving in the wind. I also said that the field looked like a dark green carpet. Alexandra, Brenna and I walked a little way into the field and found Japanese Beetles. I explained to them that the insects were feeding on the soybean leaves and could possibly lower the yield of the crop. Later on, I had found out that my four and a half year old niece, Brenna, told her mom what she had learned that day. It was a great feeling knowing she was having fun learning about agriculture.

One of my favorite quotes is from the words of Baba Dioum, "In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Education is vital to understanding the agriculture industry, and it is becoming increasingly important as generations become further removed from the farm. Because of this reason, I take the time to talk about what is happening on our family farm whenever Alexandra, Brenna and Sophia visit. My nieces get first-hand experience with planting, harvest, cattle work, and possibly a newborn calf when they are on the farm. It is my hope that these experiences on the farm will not only teach them about agriculture, buit gain valuable lessons they will carry throughout their lives.

- Monica Stevens, Resource Conservationist