A couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of joining the K-3rd grade classes on a field trip to Mr. and Mrs. Bush’s farm in Paron, Arkansas. Mrs. Bush teaches the upper grade students at PCA, but Thursday she stepped into the roll of field trip guide for our lower elementary students. It may have been the most enjoyable field trip I have ever been on as an adult, and it was chock-full of age-appropriate educational nuggets for the students.
One of the first things we did at the Bush’s farm was to meet their goats and their kids. Many of the students took a turn holding and snuggling with the baby goats. One was only a week old, and Mr. Bush let the students name her! I hear it was a toss-up between Lucy and Star. To compromise, her name is now Lucy Star!
After watching and holding and feeding the goat family, we were introduced to the chickens.
The Bushes have chickens that were bred to lay a lot of eggs and other chickens that were bred to be eaten. I learned about different kinds of chickens and what to expect from them year to year. The students seemed very impressed as well and asked some great questions about why certain eggs were in certain places in the coop and why some chickens were in the coop and others not.
After spending some time learning about the different roles of each of the chicken groups, the students had an opportunity to plant some seeds. They planted seeds in three different places and in two different ways. The first seeds needed to be dropped into a hole; the second and third kind were scattered and then raked. All three kinds left the students dirty and smiling. What a great science class!
After sowing seeds, we took a walk to a pond the Bushes dug out and created with a cool island and man-made bridge and dam. Let’s just say my respect for Mr. and Mrs. Bush went way up when I saw all the work they’ve put into that pond and the rest of their farm. They’ve stocked their pond with fish and frogs. We spent some time searching for frog eggs. One of the highlights of the trip was watching Mrs. Bush scoop up two handfuls of frog eggs and hold them out for each of the students to see and feel.
Mr. and Mrs. Bush taught us a bit about some of the different trees and plants that grow around their farm, and we looked at their prickly pear cactus. Then we headed out into the woods on a trail leading to a stream. We were looking for wild turkeys and deer, but with all the fun the students were having, I’m sure the volume of our group scared them off. It seems they left a few feathers behind.
Our nature walk was full of adventure as the students found treasured rocks to take home and a stream to jump over and fallen trees to walk mightily over. After a nice walk through the woods, we were all excited to head back to the farm for some lunch.
Some of the students enjoyed sitting and eating, and others were having so much fun being distracted by the cats, the dog, the goats and the chickens. Even Miss Claxton ended up with a baby goat in her arms.
After lunch, the kindergarteners headed home and the 2nd-3rd graders stayed to have a hands-on experience making soap. Although I was unable to stay for this part, I am excited to use the soap my daughter brought home! Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Bush!
The field trip was a huge success, and I applaud Mr. and Mrs. Bush for their generous hospitality and for hosting such an educationally rich day! We all had a lot of fun.