The Simpson County Extension Office hosted an Environmental Field Day for fourth grade students at Lincoln Elementary Wednesday, May 15.

"We feel like it is important to teach our kids the importance of agriculture, being good stewards of the environment and things that relate to that," Simpson County Extension Agent for Agricultural and Natural Resources Education Jason Phillips said.

The extension office had nine different stations set up around the school for the students to visit. All of the stations tied in with the environment and safety for the students, Phillips said.

"We try to get the kids in touch with what is going on in nature and things in their environment that they might have at home, so that they can make a connection on how things grow, how it becomes food, how we use it to help our bodies," said Caren Gibson, a volunteer with the Simpson County Extension Office.

Some of the stations taught the students how to plant zucchini, while another station taught students different ways to cook zucchini. The Allen County Beekeepers Association manned one of the stations, where they explained about bees, honey and their impact in the environment.

Lacey Phillips manned a DNA extraction station, where the students had to extract the DNA from a strawberry.

Gibson said the stations change every year depending on who the presenters are, but there is a core the extension office tries to stick too.

"Maybe when [students] sit down at the supper table they will understand a little more about what goes into the food production process," Phillips said.

Phillips said they typically do the field day towards the end of the school year with the help of the school.

"The extension office really takes the time to plan engaging activities and the presenters you can tell they are really excited about showing it to [the] kids," said Missy West, a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.

West said when the students get back to class they discuss what they learned and sometimes they are so excited they cannot write it down fast enough.

"It gives them some hands on science education and I am a science teacher so I love that we get to do this, we don't always have time in class to do a lot of hands on things," West said.

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