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Ag comes to AE

Posted: Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Seed Survivor instructor Janis Lievens, left, instructs AE first graders Abry Jiron, left, Mateo Montejo, center, and Jace Montoya, right, plant giant sunflower seeds. Courier photo by Lauren Krizansky

ALAMOSA — Students planted giant sunflowers, learned about fertilizers and how watersheds work when the Seed Survivor exhibit stopped in Alamosa on Wednesday.

The national touring exhibit visits schools free-of-charge, and provides an opportunity for hands on learning using media and virtual reality games. Agrium, a Canada-based company with offices in Denver, designed the exhibit to teach young people about what plants need to live and why they are essential for human life and enjoyment.

“We are teaching the importance of farming,” said Seed Survivor instructor Janis Lievens, a retired teacher from Broomfield. “We teach them about food from around the state. We tell them what does not grow, too, and that everything they need to make a pizza or a hamburger grows here in Colorado.”

Alamosa School District Future Farmers of America (FFA) sponsor and ag teacher Kevin Rice decided to bring the exhibit to the Valley after he saw it in action at last year’s FFA state convention.

“They handed out some curriculum for me to use,” Rice said. “After I went to the website, I thought it would be a neat thing for the Farm Safety Day at Monte Vista, but they were already booked, so I set up the Alamosa date.”

He also credited Colorado Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Bette Blinde for her efforts in sponsoring the exhibit.

“It is just one of the many things they offer for agriculture education in Colorado,” Rice said. “The whole farm to school initiative is so important to educate people about where their food and fiber come from. This is a fun and interesting way to start the learning experience.”

The exhibit will visit the Center Consolidated School District on Monday.

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