Canby’s third-graders got their hands dirty recently during a field trip to Oregon State University’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in nearby Aurora.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center, and it is located in our own backyard,” said Danielle Reynolds, the Canby School District’s director of teaching and learning, who helped organize the districtwide field trip.
“It was a wonderful day of outdoor, hands-on learning, allowing students to make real-life connections to the curriculum they are learning about in the classroom. Thank you, OSU!”
Located minutes up the road from Canby, the center is OSU’s only agriculture field research station in the northwestern part of the state.
Its staff serves farmers through research and education on the region’s crop systems, including nurseries and greenhouses, fresh vegetables and specialty seed crops, berries and small fruit, Christmas trees, orchard crops, field crops, and small farms.
Canby’s field trip was filled with experiential learning related to the theme of pollinators. Students rotated through 10 stations including the water station, 4-H program, tractors and insect stages. They planted basil, nasturtiums and marigolds to take home.
They engineered a pipe system for watering. They even visited with OSU’s mascot, Benny the Beaver. Trost third-grade teacher Whitni Bonner said her students couldn’t stop raving about how much fun they were having.
“One student, who usually skips field trips, was happy he didn’t skip that day,” Bonner said. “He told me all about it on the walk from learning about Christmas trees to going and gathering his frozen blueberries.”
She noted that even the adults were thrilled with how much they were learning.
“We were definitely stumped about what agrivoltaics was until we got to the station,” Bonner said.
Knight third-grade teacher Amelia Dedlow called the trip a “fun, interactive and educational opportunity.”
“The students had a great time seeing their learning in a real-world application,” Dedlow said. “They loved sitting on the tractors, looking at and identifying different insects and enjoying a sweet treat at the end of the day.” Benny the Beaver was a big hit, she added.
Several students had their own way of describing their experiences at the center, with one saying, “We got to see what a baby ladybug looks like — and it doesn’t look like a ladybug at all,” and another chiming in, “I learned that (farmers) don’t like to waste any water.”
“We got to look at different insects and eggs and try to identify them,” still another student said. “Some of them were gross looking.”
For those interested in visiting for themselves, the center is located at 15210 Northeast Miley Road in Aurora and will hold a community open house from 4 to 7 p.m. July 19.
The public is invited for a close-up look at research and development at the center including berry tasting, hay rides and farm tours, farm equipment display and fresh farm veggies.
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