More than 1,800 visit for Kiddie Days
Area children get hands-on experience with farm animals
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 16:04
The Saddle and Sirloin club successfully held another annual Kiddie Days event Tuesday through Friday last week at Sheppard Arena. More than 1,800 area kids got the opportunity to get up close with a variety of farm-related animals and learn about the impact they can make in individuals’ lives.
“We invite kids from the community…that see animals used by farmers or producer in things such as books or movies, but they never get actually see them up close in person or touch them,” said event co-chair Andrew Maidl. “Our biggest goal is to educate the kids on the basic information about where their food comes from.”
As tour guides, club members tell the kids things they probably don’t know about each of the animals. The guides let them know facts such as how old the animals are or how much they weigh, as well as the kind of food that comes from them like milk, pork chops or hamburger.
The Saddle and Sirloin club feels it is important to stress that farmers and ranchers treat the animals humanely. Event co-chair David Larson says it is good for the children to see that the animals are happy and fed well, because it displays how today’s American producers are taking care of their animals.
“People can get some negative ideas about the animal agriculture industry when one incident gets blown out of proportion and is spread quickly through new forms of fast-moving media,” Larson said. “We like to use this event as an opportunity to make an impression on the kids that we treat the animals well, and they live in a safe and healthy environment.”
The kids mostly range from two to seven years old and although their parents are encouraged to bring them in too, they are normally part of groups such as daycares who pre-register to let them know that they are coming. A time can be reserved for each group and the large ones get broken down into groups of about ten. Maidl says it is best to show them around in smaller groups so that they all get a chance to touch the animals and hear what we have to say
“Some of our group will take away the actual information that is being given out, and for the others it will be a sensory experience,” Laurie Johnson, a West Fargo High School special education faculty member, said. “Knowing that our students would get to see and touch the animals is why we are here.”
Both Maidl and Larson emphasized that they would like to see more campus-wide participation in the annual event. Larson says that we are all kids at heart, and NDSU college students who may have never gotten a chance to be up close with farm animals are welcome to stop in for a look around each year. Maidl added that you are never too young to learn about what agriculture means to you and to perhaps even become involved in it someday.
A variety of agricultural organizations and commissions provided giveaways like coloring books, crayons and informational bookmarks. The event co-chairs are appreciative of the entities they contacted that were willing to donate educational materials that the kids could take home with them.
“We would love to hear about more groups or individuals that would like to come next year so that we can put them on our invitation list,” Maidl and Larson said in unison. “The more people we can show that we are doing things the right way, the better it is for both them and the industry.”
For more about the Saddle and Sirloin, visit http://www. ndsu.edu/pubweb/s_s/.