When you mix 4th graders, school house history, Guinea Hog piglets and chickens that like to nibble on your lunch with a sunny day, you get a successful program with the Tri-Point schools. On April 19th, 26 students and 3 adults enjoyed a day of learning about the Spence Farm, 1860’s life and what makes a prairie so unique.
First, the children visited with Amanda Melvin, our “school teacher”, who taught them about what life and education was like when the soil was tilled behind a horse and classes were in one room for all ages. They enjoyed seeing what “hard tack” was and experiencing school while Amanda taught them from readers and they solved math problems on their slates.
Marty Travis then introduced our restored prairie and discussed the relationships that we are trying to recreate between plants, animals, insects and the land. One aspect that he highlighted was the way bees use that prairie to produce honey and stay healthy. He also emphasized the prairie as a community. If a community is completely removed from an area, it takes years and years to reestablish both the structure and connections that made that place a success in the past.
The kids took a tour of the Spence Farm grounds where the unique features, such as the diverse and varied crops grown and the syrup house, were highlighted. They visited the cemetery and learned more history and were able to see the piglets and the Dexter cows in action on the pasture.
At the end, our director Carolynne Saffer asked: “What will you tell your family about your day?” All replied with elements of the educational program but they agreed that the life and times of our resident bee population and the roaming chickens that tried to eat their lunches will be some things they never forget.