Bok North Ag Students Continue "Adventures" in Education
Students Become Reporters as They Learn About Food Production
Last updated 10/13/2023 at 12:46pm
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written by middle school students at Bok North Academy. Students enrolled in the Bok Academy North agriculture program are excited for the opportunities they are being offered this year. Among those are participation in the Future Farmers of America programs. LakeWalesNews.net plans to publish monthly stories written by students of the program. Instructor Jennifer Williams says she is teaching students that agriculture "is much more than just cattle and oranges."
This month our Agriculture classes along with our FFA chapter have participated in many activities and added numerous hands on opportunities for our members. To kick off September, our entire agriculture department visited Bok Tower Gardens as a part of an industry tour. We met with the horticulture manager, learned what it takes to maintain the beautiful gardens, and tour the grounds.
As the month continued, our Agriculture Foundations class began their Industry Tour series by visiting Cow Camp at Lake Kissimmee State Park where a cowboy named Fuzzy took them back in time to the Florida cattle industry of the late 1800's.
To expand the opportunities for our students, Jennifer Williams, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor, added 30 Tilapia, 17 Turkeys, eight goats, and a Brangus heifer to our land lab which already consisted of 17 rabbits and 23 chickens. The tilapia finished out our aquaponics system which will be used to grow lettuces and other leafy vegetables while we learn to maintain their delicate environment through water testing and monitoring the pH of the tank.
We will be exhibiting the Red Bourbon and Bronze turkeys at the the Polk County Youth Fair in January, as well as the goats and heifer. These animals have created an additional 26 opportunities for students to begin their SAE (supervised agricultural experience) projects. We are also growing pumpkins, eggplants, celery, greens, cabbage, and various herbs which will be used in cooperation with our culinary department.
Our agriculture literacy initiative continued as we visited Polk Avenue ,Garden Grove, Spook Hill and Babson Park elementary schools to introduce students to Florida produce, honey, and trees. At Polk Avenue students learned about Florida produce and used their senses to discover rainbow carrots, tomatoes, mini cucumbers, watermelon, grapes, and peas!
We visited Garden Grove and helped kindergarteners discover Florida honey, then made treats of bananas drizzled with honey and rolled in graham crackers. Spook Hill Pre-k students learned about forestry and created their own trees by tracing the students' hands and letting them paint leaves with fingerpaint.
Lastly, at Babson Park, students learned about horticulture and created a personal greenhouse by placing seeds in a damp napkin into a baggie so they could hang it in the sun and watch them grow!
Our FFA Officer team consisting of Zibe Stein, Kaylee Mixon, Riley Grogan, Seaira Hernandez, Emily McNutt, Laura Lynn Berkau, LeeAna Deese, Madison O'Neal, and Brianna Ritchey, placed second at the Polk County FFA Opening and Closing Ceremony contest. They will compete again in December at the sub-district contest.
Our chapter's community outreach continued as we collected money for the Florida FFA Better Days Fund, which assists chapters that suffered damage from hurricanes and natural disasters. We also are collected items for the Humane Society of Polk County.
In October, we will be hosting a Fall Festival on October 27th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm to secure donations for the Way Center of Haines City; come out and join us! To close out the month, we volunteered as buddies at the first annual Hollie/Brewer Adaptive Rodeo. This rodeo offered exceptional children and teens the opportunity to rope a dummy, pop whips, barrel race, exhibit a cow, and ride a mechanical bull. It was an amazing opportunity! Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for upcoming dates and events.