Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fort Smith Elementary students take a group picture during their field trip to the Greenwood Life Farm. Back row (from the left): Kristen Mark, Amanda Miller, Bonnie Graber, Quinton Miller, Victoria Takes Enemy, Jermah Takes Enemy, Kaylie Gun Shows and Brandon Little Owl; middle row: Samantha Weer, Justin Kehler, Ethan Gun Shows, Koleton Miller, Gracie Hill, Curtis Pretty on Top, Cody Big Hair and teacher Jennifer Purk; and front row: Joseph Knows the Ground, Dave Graber, Sophie Gun Shows and Lexus Big HairFort Smith Elementary summer school students pick plants from the soil at Greenwood Life Farm south of Hardin. From the left: Gracie Hill, Koleton Miller, Victoria Takes Enemy, Curtis Pretty on Top, Dave Graber and Jermah Takes Enemy.

Fort Smith students connect with ‘Momma Dirt’ at Greenwood Life Farm

Summer school students from Fort Smith Elementary dug, pet, played, planted and cooked while on a recent field trip to Greenwood Life Farm, where they learned about life systems. 
David and Bonnie Graber, owners and operators of Greenwood Life Farm – located a little more than a mile south of Hardin – welcomed students to learn through hands-on, outdoor education. Including this group of 14, the Grabers have hosted nearly 200 students from School District 17H & 1.
Elle Ross, who serves as FoodCorps service member for the district, helped arrange and set up the visit. Once it was underway, she also participated in activities with the students.
The field trip focused on building connections through relationships within the class, community and “Momma Dirt.” 
Later in the afternoon, the students transferred what they had learned in their hands-on experience into creatively written accounts of life on the farm. This included learning about “Momma Dirt and roots,” and their importance to plant life and nourishment. Traveling into the cornfield, students de-weeded the area so the corn roots could flourish and grow. Students pet and fed various animals such as goats, chickens, and turkeys. They learned about their life cycles and what keeps them healthy. 
Indoors, students got to shell corn, grind corn into flour and make corn tortillas. Students also sanded and drew the inside of a corn kernel to see its germ, starch and hull. 
Overall, it was a jam-packed learning experience that had the kids talking the whole bus ride back to school.
Student accounts
I am Justin and I loved Graber’s Farm. I loved watching the goats play and jump. I learned corn comes in many colors like yellow, orange, red, and purple. I learned about a weed called red root. It was really fun to learn new ways to use mother earth.
- Justin Kehler, 1st Grade
Hey, my name is Quinton. I would like to tell you about my trip to Graber’s Farm in Hardin, MT. First we got off the bus and meant Mr. Dave, Mrs. Bonnie, Kaleb, Toby, and Thea. Then we got to pet their dogs Bear and Milly. Then we got to see the turkeys and feed them corn. Next I learned there is an edible weed called red root or pig weed that we pulled out of their garden. Next we ground corn and made tortillas. Then we sanded down the corn to see the inside of the kernel! Finally, we said our good-bye’s and went on our way. Thank you Graber’s Farm for teaching us so much!!!
- Quinton Miller, 5th Grade
Hi my name is Jermah. I went to Graber’s Farm. They showed us all the hens, turkeys, and goats. We pulled foxtail weeds. I liked the bike because we used it to grind corn into flour. We made homemade tortillas! We sanded down corn. We all took a picture together to remember our fun time!
- Jermah Takes Enemy, 3rd Grade
Hi my name is Victoria. Let me tell you about my trip to Graber’s Farm. Today I learned about chickens and goats. I also feed the goats and chickens. We saw a turkey and chicken egg and got to hold it. We ground corn and made tortillas. We planted corn seeds. We also helped tem pick out foxtail and red roots out of their cornfield. You can eat red roots. We also sanded corn and looked inside at the germ. After we sanded the corn we drew the corn. We learned how mother-nature is important to the environment, also to human kind. Thank-you so much to Graber’s Farm for helping me learn about animals and plant life. Graber’s Farm, you made this a special moment!
- Victoria Takes Enemy, 5th Grade
Hi, I am Lexus. I will tell you about Graber’s Farm in Hardin, MT. I wil show you the owners, Mr. Dave, Mrs. Bonnie, and Mrs. Kristen. I will show you the animals like the turkeys. You can feed the turkeys corn and turkeys have a beard and a snood. Goats eat weeds and grass and are good climbers. Goats have a goatee. We had homemade tortillas and sanded corn to see the germ. We colored corn on paper. The turkeys had laid eggs. I learned about mother dirt. I love it! Mother dirt makes things grow like trees, grass, and flowers. I hope to see you guys again!
- Lexus Big Hair, 3rd Grade
Hi my name is Gracie. I went to Graber’s Farm. It was amazing and we went in their shop. We learned about mother earth. Mother earth is important to the world. If we didn’t have mother earth everything would die. Mother earth at Graber’s Farm grows corn. We helped their farm with taking out some weeds. I got to pet a chicken. It was soft and I saw a goat. It jumped on a tire! They have turkeys. The turkeys like corn. The goats like weeds. We made tortillas. We ground corn and added some water and cooked it and ate the tortillas. They were good! Thank you Grabers, it was so awesome!
- Gracie Hill, 4th Grade
Hi my name is Ethan. I will tell you about Graber’s Farm. It was fun because we got to go to the turkey’s then the chickens. Then I ground corn and made homemade tortillas. Then we got on the school bus and said good-bye to the Grabers!
- Ethan Gun Shows, 4th Grade
Hi my name is Sophie and today I went to Graber’s Farm. I loved playing and learning about the animals. We ground corn and I made my own tortilla. The corn is pretty colors. It was so much fun! Sophie Gun Shows, 1st Grade
Hi my name is Kaylie. I learned how to plant corn at Graber’s Farm. Their dogs names were Bear and Milly. The farmers names were Mr. Dave, Mrs. Bonnie, and Mrs. Kristen. One of the goats jumped on me! It was so cute! I got to pet the chicken. Its name was Wallace. I got to make my very own tortilla. I got to ground the corn and sand the corn to see the germ. You can eat red root. It’s a weed. I got to pull weeds out of the garden. Turkey’s have a beard and they have a snood. A snood is a long flap of skin going down their beak. Goodbye and goodbye to all! Thank you!
- Kaylie Gun Shows, 3rd Grade
Hi my name is Curtis. I went to Graber’s Farm in Hardin, MT. I worked at pulling weeds and learned how to grow plants. I learned about the goats and turkeys and hens. We found turkey eggs. I made a homemade tortilla. I ground corn. I planted some corn seed. The goats were climbing on tires. We got to feed the goats and turkeys and hens. It is fun to feed the goats and turkeys and hens. I had fun at the Graber’s Farm. Thank you!
- Curtis Pretty On Top, 4th Grade
Hi my name is Cody. Today we went to Graber’s Farm in Hardin, MT. I got to see the turkeys and goats. We were able to feed the goats and turkeys. In the corn filed we pulled foxtail and red root out. When we left the corn field, we seen the turkey eggs in a nest. Then we went inside and did activities with corn. Thank you for letting us visit your farm and teaching us about momma dirt.
- Cody Big Hair, 4th Grade