Hands-on agriculture education for students
Agriculture is a large part of our everyday lives, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, even the fuel that powers our cars. A farmer affects each person's life from the moment they wake up and head to work in the morning, to when they sit down for dinner with their family at the end of the day. The significance of agriculture in our society must be shared to connect students of all ages with the source of their food as well as the history of the industry.
 
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) aims to educate people about the rich culture of American farming by providing hands-on learning experiences at farms, museums and historic sites.
 
Did you know that the SSNHA Bus Grant program helped teachers take more than 2,000 students on f ield trips last year? In fact, since the program was created, SSNHA has helped m ore than 12,000 students connect with America's agricultural story and discover the importance of Iowa's role in feeding the world.
 
Teacher Megan Murphy from Irving Elementary in Dubuque traveled with her third grade class to Reuter Dairy Farm in Peosta, Iowa.
 
According to Murphy, students went to the dairy farm to learn about the process farmers go through to support our local economy and their contribution to the national dairy supply.
 
"We are
thankful to have this grant offered so our students can get the authentic experience of seeing Iowa farms in action," said Murphy.
 
Third grader Carter M. said, "My favorite part was when got to feed the baby cows. There was one cow that ate every single crumb out of my hand."
 
"I was surprised that the calves were so big," said student Adaya B. "I thought they would be the s ize of a dog."
 
Avere e C. said, "I thought they would use their hands to milk a co w, b ut they use machines!"
 
Murphy sa id f or many students, this was their first time to a farm. The "outdoor classroom" gave them a real-life picture into the hard work and dedication of dairy farmers," o ne that could not have happened inside a classro om.
 
Silos
& Smokestacks is launching a year-end campaign to h elp fund hands-on learning about agriculture in schools and non-traditional or outdoor classrooms. YOU can hel p offe r firsthand learning exp eriences for students and adults alike when you partner with Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA). By donat ing $75, you can hel p fund school field trips to our designated partner sites, training for teachers and for site staff and volunteers. Our goal is to raise $40,000 by the end of 2017.

Donate today and help other teachers like Megan Murphy take their students on a school trip to a working farm. Visit silosandsmokestacks.org/donate to support hands-on agriculture learning for elementary students.
 
This story is part one in a series highlighting agriculture education in a non-traditional classroo m for students, travelers and working professionals. To support this initiative by Silos & Smokestacks, click HERE. 

About Silos & Smokestacks
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is one of 49 federally designat
ed heritage areas in the nation and is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. Visit one of Silos & Smokestacks 117 partner sites throughout Northeast Iowa to learn more about the history of farming or to experience the new and amazing innovations in the agriculture industry. Or, explore Iowans as leaders in agriculture in Silos & Smokestacks' traveling exhibit, "It Takes An Iowan." For more information, visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org.

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