Students learn much more than how to farm in agriscience classes, the FFA and 4H.
Emma Zwirn was one of many students at the Herschel King Agricultural Center just past the Flagler County Fairgrounds on County Road 13 on Saturday, March 11. Erin, like her peers, was getting an up close and personal view of 4H and FFA programs in the county.
When Emma turns five years old in September she will be eligible to become a 4H member and do what she wants – raise some chickens of her own. On Saturday, under the watchful eye of her brother Pax, she was brushing a black and white pig.
“Emma is excited about 4H,” her mother Kelley Zwirn said. “She is taking riding lessons right now.”
The most appropriately named, and most likely the youngest at the open house event, was Wade Farmer. Five months old to the day, Wade sat atop his first horse with his mom Carla Whitley’s help. The horse was Itty Bitty, a miniature horse that is often found outside of Johanna Davis’ class at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
Students like Carley Koehler were ambassadors for the two programs that often overlap and work together, like they were on Saturday.
“I’ve made a lot of friends in 4H,” Carley said. “In FFA there are competitive events, and you learn a lot about leadership and meet a lot of people at conferences.”
Across the field Michael Akialis and Jaxson Fox were giving drone demonstrations when the winds cooperated. While Michael enjoys his class at FPC, he said it was unlikely he would ever use a drone in his career.
“Unless they find a way to use drones in radiology,” Michael said. “But then no one would have thought agriculture would have anything to do with drones.”
Johanna Davis said the students also raise funds for research into childhood cancer through the children’s medical network and, in some individual cases, for students in Flagler County.
Representing Buddy Taylor Middle School was R.D. Davis, Johanna’s husband and agriscience teacher, and Andrew Medearis, who runs the STEM program.
“It’s not just traditional farming,” Medearis said. “We want to make people aware of the opportunities and that the programs that are available.”