First grade field day was both exciting and educational for some Tift County first graders Friday morning.
More than 300 children from G.O. Bailey Primary and Annie Belle Clark Primary visited the University of Georgia Tifton Campus to learn about cows, horses, chickens and fish from UGA faculty and staff members, such as Extension poultry scientist Claudia Dunkley, aquaculturist Gary Burtle, and animal and dairy scientist John Bernard.
“Hopefully, we can give them a good, basic background on farm animals that we use for producing food,” said John Bernard, animal and dairy scientist on the Tifton Campus. “Hopefully, we can give them some basic information so they know a little more about the animals, how we try to take care of them to make sure they’re healthy and produce well. Also, it gives them a chance to see where their food comes from.”
The field day, held at the UGA Tifton Campus Dairy, has been an annual event in Tifton for approximately 27 years. Bernard said he’s encountered adults who visited the campus as first graders and still remember the memorable moments from that day.
“For many kids, this is the first time they’ve been this close, particularly to a dairy cow or maybe even a beef cow. For others, this maybe the only opportunity to be this close,” Bernard said.
Teachers in attendance see the value in this event as well.
“Driving down the road, these kids see cows but how many of them get a chance to actually come up and see them being fed and get to touch them and interact with them? It’s a good learning thing for them,” said Marisol Griffis, a first grade teacher at G.O. Bailey.
Griffis’ fellow teacher, Savannah Harvin concurs.
“This is only the second field trip we’ve had, so they were all excited to come out here and get out of the classroom,” said Savannah Harvin.
The first grade field day was scheduled to be a two-day event, but Thursday was cancelled due to more than 5 inches of rain. Instead, Bernard and others visited Len Lastinger Primary, Northside Primary, Omega Elementary and Tiftarea Academy and handed out ice cream cups and informative packets, so the children could learn about and color the different animals.