Bringing agriculture to the city
Education about agriculture is on the minds of many who live in the Northern Plains region. From farmers who want to share their livelihood with others and provide accurate information to consumers, to urban parents who want their children to und...
Education about agriculture is on the minds of many who live in the Northern Plains region. From farmers who want to share their livelihood with others and provide accurate information to consumers, to urban parents who want their children to understand the origin of their food and the fuel that takes them on family vacations. Agriculture is an integral part of our lives and as a result, we look for opportunities to learn more.
The Children's Zoo Farm at the Red River Zoo is bringing agricultural education to the region through the development of important partnerships with North Dakota State University Extension, commodity groups and industry. Together, these organizations are finding a way to bring accurate information to the region in a fun, interactive way. In 2017, outdoor exhibits, including a crops area, sensory garden and prairie pocket area, were developed and are being enjoyed by visitors to the zoo.
The crops area shows and provides information on some of the major crops being grown in the region, along with the soil health building practices being incorporated by farmers, like the use of cover crops. The sensory garden is a certified pollinator garden with annual and perennial plants. They bloom throughout the summer to bring color, texture and fragrance to those walking through the raised beds and trellis. Native grasses were seeded in the prairie pocket area and are now starting to grow. These great exhibits, along with the animals found in the zoo farm provide a great opportunity for learning!
In addition to the exterior learning area, an interior exhibit is also being developed. A combine cab was donated and placed in the zoo barn - and it is always packed with kids and adults experiencing the equipment side of farm life. Kids can sit on straw bales or seed bags to watch an episode of Agweek for Kids to learn about crops and animal agriculture from a farm family. There is more being planned for this interior exhibit, so be sure to check back when it is complete.
Agriculture Adventure Day is planned for this Saturday, July 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event brings hands-on learning activities, farm and zookeeper talks, live kids entertainment and art. It's an opportunity to come in contact with individuals who work in agriculture, including farmers, NDSU Extension specialists and researchers, commodity organizations and individuals involved with the ag industry. Admission is free for kids and a free lunch also will be available while supplies last. Come to the Red River Zoo and support agriculture!
More information on the Red River Zoo and the Agriculture Adventure Day can be found by visiting the zoo's webpage (redriverzoo.org) or following on Twitter (@RedRiverZoo). You can get updates on soil health and upcoming events from the NDSU Soil Health webpage (ndsu.edu/soilhealth) or by following me on Twitter (@NDSUsoilhealth).
Editor's note: Wick is an Extension Soil Health Specialist at NDSU.