A majority of our time at the Noble Research Institute the past few weeks has been consumed by the scholars' annual grazing project, consisting of prairie species identification and what seemed like endless moving of cattle. Through this process, we became relatively knowledgeable about these native grasslands and all that the prairie encompasses, which up to this point I had only read about in books. From the feeling, touching, smelling and even tasting of various prairie plant species, I must say that during this time we became rather intimate with this ecosystem.
However, the completion of this project has allowed us to move on and assume new things at the Noble Research Institute; the most recent being a Community in Schools event. Routinely, kids from surrounding cities and states come to the Noble Research Institute for agricultural learning experiences. This time, it was up to us scholars to teach these fifth graders about various topics. Being the horticulture major, I gladly took on the strawberry planting demonstration.
I did not know what to expect at first, questioning the interest of the kids. However, after getting started and giving the strawberry spiel I had rehearsed in my head, I was amazed to see how interactive the kids were, and it led to a successful experience. When I was told by a little girl that I sound like a farmer, I thought that maybe it was my Carolina accent that was keeping the kids engaged.
I enjoyed working with the kids and seeing their interest in agriculture. It is imperative that more kids become interested and involved in agriculture, and I applaud the Noble Research Institute for making such strides to do so.
Andrew Scruggs is a 2013 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Cliffside, N.C. He is currently a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in horticultural science and minoring in ag business management and soil science.