Dal-AC field trip an eye opener for budding farmers

Harry Sullivan
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BIBLE HILL - For budding farmers Branden MacNutt and schoolmate Avery McNutt, an opportunity to check out the inner workings of Dalhousie's Agricultural Campus was like a top-of-list field trip.

Avery McNutt and Branden MacNutt, Grade 8 students at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, were among more than 500 students who participated in Ag Zone 2014 at the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture in Bible Hill.

"I'd like to come to this school some day, so I really like coming here and learning about different farms and different agriculture, so that's why I wanted to come today," Branden, a Grade 8 student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche said of his participation in the AC's annual AgZone.

The event is designed as an interactive field trip and agricultural awareness initiative through the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture.

"The intent is to expose them or enlighten them a little bit on what agriculture is all about and its importance to Nova Scotia and rural communities," said Rick Hoeg, an agricultural education liaison with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture.

Between Wednesday and Friday, more than 500 Grade 8 students from various schools throughout central Nova Scotia were bused to the institution to participate in seven different workshops and hands-on activities.

After participating in a session on sheep at the Ruminant Animal Centre and another on fish at the Aquaculture Centre, Branden and Avery, who both plan to enroll at the AC, were each eager to carry on to their next stops.

"I found out a lot I didn't know abut sheep," said Branden, who currently is involved with raising Hereford cattle on his dad's farm.

For Avery, however, the visit to the Aquaculture Centre was an interesting eye opener.

"I'm learning a lot. The fish thing was really cool," he said. "I used to live on a sheep farm so I knew a lot about sheep. But I didn't know anything about the American salmon and how they grow up in fresh water and moved on to salt water. That was really cool and I do plan to come here someday."

Other workshops included looking at the different components of soil, extracting strawberry DNA and various aspects of agricultural engineering, such as water purification and thermal imaging.

"We expect that many students do not think of agriculture when they consider what they would like to do for a career," Hoeg said. "If this program gives them a glimpse of agriculture that sparks an interest and raises awareness, we will be successful."


Twitter: @tdnharry



Organizations: Aquaculture Centre, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, North Colchester High School Ruminant Animal Centre

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche

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