From staff reports
AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College recently participated in the Chattahoochee Flint Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center (GYSTC) Science Farm Day at Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Farm outside of Plains recently.
The day was filled with opportunities for the approximately 200 grade six through eight students from Dooly County, Southland Academy and Quitman County to learn about the science of agriculture. Sixteen different options were offered from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., to allow potential young farmers to immerse themselves in one of Georgia’s greatest industries. The event was coordinated by Emily Strickland, GYSTC Regional Coordinator for the Chattahoochee Flint area.
Agriculture and agribusiness have a $74 billion economic impact on the state’s economy, and GYSTC’s science day was designed to share with college students some of the agriculture-related businesses available in Georgia.
South Georgia Technical College provides bags for each of the students in attendance, then Welding Instructor Ted Eschmann, John Deere Agricultural Technology Instructor Matthew Burks, Industrial Maintenance and Electrical Systems Instructor Patrick Owen, Instructor diesel Chase Shannon and precision manufacturing instructor Chad Brown joined Academic Dean Dr. David Finley and Nancy Fitzgerald, Institutional Effectiveness and Grants Coordinator, created activities highlighting their program areas and the importance of these areas for agriculture and Georgia.
SGTC installed a trailer with welding and excavator simulators to allow students to try their hand at welding as well as working with an excavator. Academic Dean and former Culinary Arts Instructor Dr. David Finley gave a corn cooking demonstration to show students just how important farm-to-table culinary arts are.
Patrick Owen, an industrial maintenance and electrical systems instructor, installed solar panels to show students how solar energy generates power on farms and other agribusinesses, then Matthew Burks, agricultural technology instructor John Deere, had a small tractor to show the students how farming technology has changed over the years. .
“This event was all about industry and learning,” said Emily Strickland, who created the program for the event. “We wanted students to be aware of what agribusiness is and hopefully we can ignite fires of interest to keep Georgia’s number one industry going.”
Through an “innovative grant”, Emily is trying to reach women and minority populations in particular. It does this in a very convenient interactive way. She uses students as well as adults to educate. There were different learning styles going on for this event. Some included scavenger hunts in which a student sought information about crops grown in the field, knowing which sex of bird had the most vibrant colors, what a windmill was used for, and other intellectual quests. There were several stations where a student could learn about different aspects of agriculture, water testing, commodities, welding, irrigation, minerals, and even tractors.