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Farm & Forest Fair: Students get hands-on study on Idaho ag

Here, Dave Summers with Idaho Department of Lands shows the kids a cork and talks about where it came from.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Here, Dave Summers with Idaho Department of Lands shows the kids a cork and talks about where it came from.

— “How old do you think this tree was?” Idaho Forest Group’s Glenn Poxleitner asked a group of kids as he held up a cut tree ring to them.

“Two? Forty?” kids yelled out.

“This tree was 92 years old,” Poxleitner told the students as they said, “Wow!” and “Whoa!”


Students from across the Camas Prairie took part in the hands-on Farm and Forest Fair April 18-19.

What did they learn?

Among the myriad of things children learned during the Farm and Forest Fair:

• Corks are made from the bark of a cork tree.

• Pine cones can tell what kind of tree they come from.

• Worms help increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil.

• A cowbell can be heard for up to two miles away

• Idaho exports about much of its soft white wheat to Asia. It is used to make noodles.

• Hard wheat, such as is grown commonly on the Camas Prairie, is used to make bread.

• Idaho produces about 100 million bushels of wheat per year.

• It rains about 20-25 inches on the Camas Prairie each year, so irrigation is not required.

• Cows need anywhere from 70 to 100 pounds of food a day and 20-30 gallons of water to produce nine gallons of milk per day.

Fourth and fifth graders from throughout the area met at Greencreek Community Hall for the annual Camas Prairie Area Farm and Forest Fair Tuesday and Wednesday, April 18 and 19. Ten stations were available with presenters as children rotated through.

“What about this one?” Poxleitner asked. “It’s about the same size around, right? But it was only 63.”

This opened the discussion about the nutrients a tree gets and how close it may be to other trees. Poxleitner showed pictures of healthy forest versus sick ones and explained how things such as branches and leaves on the ground can actually decompose and provide nutrients for other plants and trees.

Stations included Idaho Forest Group, Clearwater Forest, Idaho Department of Lands, Nez Perce Tribe Bio Control, the Idaho-Lewis County Cattle Association, Idaho Farm Bureau-Dairy, Idaho Farm Bureau-Wheat, Grain-Max Theater and 4-H. The fair is sponsored by University of Idaho Extension, Idaho Farm Bureau, Idaho County Commissioners and North Central Idaho Grazing Conference.

Students from Prairie and Summit (Cottonwood), Highland (Craigmont), Kamiah, Nezperce and Grangeville Elementary and Sts. Peter & Paul (Grangeville) were able to attend. Transportation funding was provided by the program sponsors.

Children were able to grind their own wheat into flour, which was turned into pancakes they smothered with syrup and butter, drink milk and eat cheese sticks as they milked a faux cow, watch a short movie and received a bag of goodies to take home which included information and a live tree to plant.

“I appreciate all the presenters who help make the event a success,” said Idaho County 4-H program coordinator Susie Heckman. “This is meant to help provide our youth with a balanced view of the important impact of natural resource-based industries and the effect these have on their lives and environment.”


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