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Students and tutors at the Church of the Covenant


Cows and Horses and Sheep - Oh My!

Can you imagine a group of city kids milking a Holstein cow? That's just one of many things that students from Covenant's Saturday Tutoring Program did at Lake Farm Park in Kirtland, Ohio. A group of 53 children, 12 tutors, and one parent participated in this field trip on November 23, 2002. Most of the students had never visited a farm before, and they experienced completely new sights, sounds, and smells.

For example, as the students walked into the Dairy Parlor, they noticed a terrible odor! Some of the kids weren't sure if they wanted to go any further. But once inside, they saw six dairy cattle of various breeds. Many students stepped up to the railing to get closer to the cows, while other students were more cautious. A young woman wearing bib overalls talked to our group about the cattle. The students and tutors asked her many questions. They wanted to know how milk is "cleaned", and whether milk from different cows tastes different. Then most of the kids took advantage of the opportunity to hand milk one of the cows. Fourth-grader Evelyn said the cow's udder felt softer than her own skin.

When their milking chores were finished, the students took a short wagon ride to the Horse Arena. There were two women riding horses in the show ring. They came over to the fence so that everyone could get a closer look at the horses. The students crowded around to touch the horses and feel their long manes. The students were disappointed that they couldn't ride any of the horses, but they had fun sitting in some saddles on wooden barrels.

In the Well-Bred Shed, the students interacted with several kinds of farm animals. Most students said the highlight of the trip was seeing a family of baby piglets that were born just three days before our visit. The piglets were curled up together under a warm lamp and their mother stayed nearby. Fifth-grader Nicole liked feeling the sheep's thick wool, and we all heard the sheep making loud "baaa" noises. Second-grader Isaiah was amazed when he saw an egg in the chicken coop. A group of students enjoyed petting a soft, black rabbit. Some of the girls even got long, white duck feathers to take home.

Next, our group walked outside in the snowy barnyard, and we saw more pigs, sheep and chickens. We also saw some exotic ostriches, alpacas, and llamas. Our last stop on the farm was the Plant Science Center where students learned about photosynthesis and solar power. They saw a model of underground root systems and played a food web game.

Then it was time to return to Cleveland. Many of the kids were glad to be home in the city again, but a few kids wanted to know if we could go back to the farm someday. On this seventh tutoring field trip, the Church of the Covenant gave the students a chance to travel from the city to the country, and helped the students experience things they could have never really learned in a classroom.

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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
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