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AgriPalooza a laboratory in how best to teach kids

There’s a lot to be said for showing kids how things work, how the various pieces fit together and how outcomes can be influenced. Those were, in part, among the goals of a hands-on learning experience that several hundred fifth graders found themselves involved in recently.

Organizers call it the AgriPalooza conservation festival. It’s been going on for 10 years at Michigan State University’s South Farm in Chatham. It’s a partnership between the Marquette County Conservation District, the Alger Conservation District and the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center, according to a Mining Journal story on the matter.

The kids were afforded the opportunity to learn from over 30 conservation professionals about everything from soil science to invasive species, according to Marquette County Conservation District Urban Agriculture Assistant Coordinator Jaime Beranek.

“I know I’m a hands-on learner and I know a lot of students learn that way,” she said for the Journal story. “Just being able to interact or run around and play a game, sometimes that’s the best way to deliver a concept.”

Giving students an appreciation of the environment is key among the goals of the program, she said.

“(Providing) a sense of place, where you live and where you grow up,” and educating students on “the natural resources that are around you that are your responsibility to take care of for future generations.” This was the focal point of AgriPalooza.

South Farm personnel were assisted by donations from Super One, Econo Foods, the Marquette Food Co-op, Jilbert’s Dairy and Double Trouble Entertainment. We salute those businesses for their support and, of course, the organizers of the event.

This was learning made both fun and interesting. We bet these kids will remember their visit to the Chatham farm for some time to come.