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Thu, Aug 21, 2014

MTSU ag students deliver fun-filled Spring Fling for children


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It’s a matter of perspective.

For a 5- and 6-year-old, it’s super-duper fun! For college students and adults, it’s style and rock-solid execution and performance.

More than 750 schoolchildren enjoyed the wow factor Tuesday, April 15, and could’ve cared less that it was tax day for their mom’s and dad’s. They were enjoying a field trip to MTSU’s Tennessee Livestock Center for the first of what organizers anticipate will be many Agricultural Education Spring Flings.

To view video of the Ag Ed Spring Fling, visit http://youtu.be/_G1O6MErArc.

Ava Bush, 6, a Blackman Elementary School student unknowingly representing all the students, said it “was 100 percent fun.” She enjoyed “seeing all the animals, the tractors and Lil’ Acres activities.”

Lil’ Acres, which was brought by the Rutherford County Farm Bureau Women, featured an interactive exhibit with 10 stops, and was one of many farm features for the youngsters. Children could gather plastic eggs, simulate milking a cow and digging potatoes and more, and then sell their farmers market items at a makeshift storefront. With the money they earned, they could buy a national Farm Bureau coloring book.

University students in professor Alanna Vaught’s agritourism and agribusiness class established the gold standard for the running of the event, which brought Rutherford and Cannon county and Murfreesboro City Schools to the livestock center.

Because they have the utmost respect and admiration for Vaught as their teacher and mentor, the students produced a virtually flawless event. Besides Mother Nature bringing windy and chilly 40-degree temperatures, about the only thing to go wrong happened the day before when Vaught’s pet dog, Sweetie, escaped the hard-working students’ clutches, wandered into a parking garage and was escorted to the Rutherford County PAWS, where — drum roll for happy ending — Vaught claimed her.

“I heard dozens of compliments from teachers and parents,” said Warren Gill, director of the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. “There was great media coverage. What I liked most was student involvement. I saw our students become teachers. I think they were surprised at how good they were.”

Nontraditional student Scott Moore of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., said his voice was shot by day’s end.

“If I were able to talk, I would shout from the mountaintops what a great day I was able to enjoy with my family at MTSU,” Moore penned in an 845-word email to Vaught. Just like the children, he did not want the spring fling to end. He was having too much fun.

Vaught began planning the event last fall. With help from family, students and friends, a fabulous event took place
More schools and schoolchildren wanted to attend and enjoy the fun than there was room for this year.

Vaught may have the solution for the future: Run the event on multiple days. More children will be able to taste farming and agriculture.

Randy Weiler is a writer and media liaison for the MTSU Office of News and Media Relations.

 
 
 
Tagged under  Agricultural, Center, Education, Flings, Livestock, MTSU, Spring, Tennessee



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