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School farm busy this summer

A good portion of the new Agriscience Learning Lab or “school farm” is up and running for the summer. The project, spearheaded by Lennox School District’s Agriculture Educator Jim Wilson, is the first of its kind in the state.

The animal science lab, a 40 x 60 hoop building with some outdoor pens, has made it possible for students to keep livestock. For many in-town students, having farm animals at their homes hasn’t been an option.

“I wanted a livestock animal since I grew up in town,” said high school student Alexis Mendenwald, “It’s been a good chance to learn something new.”

“It’s learning what it’s like to have a livestock animal, you don’t realize that until you do the chores,” added high school student Kayleigh Thill.

Seven students have livestock animals at the school this summer as their supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project. The SAE is a required component of a total agricultural education program and intended for every student.

“They come in a lot of different forms,” said Wilson, “We have fewer and fewer farm kids who can’t get the animals because they can’t keep them at home. This provides hands on opportunities to put in practice things we learn in the classroom.”

Wilson explained that the students purchase their own lamb or goat, and sign a contract that they will provide care for the animal, which includes providing all necessary feed and medicines, care for the animal, and maintaining accurate records. The students have created a schedule for summer chores and sign up for times, although many come every day to spend time with their animals.

“It’s fun to come and go outside with him,” Brook Geiken said referencing her lamb, then adds “the worst is the flies and the heat.”

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