25th Annual Project RED Attracts 2,000 Students
By Nancy Thelen
Project RED (Rural Education Days), which was started right here in Washtenaw County, celebrated its 25th anniversary recently with a local event that attracted 2,032 students, teachers and chaperones.
A special thanks goes to 348 volunteers who helped make it an outstanding program.
The event, sponsored jointly by Washtenaw County Farm Bureau, Michigan State University Extension and Washtenaw Farm Council, is part of a statewide program. The purpose of Project RED is to educate third-grade students about local agriculture and natural resources.
Students representing 21 private and public schools from the Ann Arbor, Saline, Ypsilanti, Whitmore Lake, Lincoln, Milan, Dexter and Manchester areas traveled to the Farm Council Grounds for this event.
Learning stations included:
•A tour through Michigan commodities.
•What's up with water?
•Dairy—"From Moo To You" and "A Taste of Michigan," featuring samples of ice cream, milk, dried cherries, blueberries, popcorn, honey butter, apples, potato chips, soy nuts and sunflower seeds.
Small grains, wool spinning, healthy eating, Michigan-made products, dairy products, an agriculture wheel with questions, as well as a display on wildlife skulls, also were featured in the showcase.
Each student and teacher received a goodie bag filled with information from various organizations and a tree seedling provided by the Washtenaw County Conservation District.
As in the past, this year's program would not have been possible without an outstanding group of dedicated volunteers and clubs, along with many local organizations and businesses, helping with various parts of the event.
Providing volunteers, resource people and group leaders were Manchester Future Farmers of America, Saline FFA, Milan FFA, MSU Master Gardeners, 4-H clubs, including Country Expressions, Paint Creek, Challengers, Leaders of the Pack, Saline 4-H Farmers, On Target, Brookville Horse Whisperers and Rogers Corners Herdsmen.
Other volunteers and supporters included: MSU Extension and Farm Bureau groups and members; local farm families; Conservation District; Pittsfield Union Grange; Washtenaw County Farm Bureau Insurance Agents; Saline-Ann Arbor MMPA; Chelsea Community Fair; Michigan Corn Growers; GreenStone Farm Credit Services of Ann Arbor; Huehl Acres; Horning Farms; Kellie Jordan; Coleman's Corn Wagon; Kurt and Kim Rose; Washtenaw County Dairy and Livestock Council; United Dairy Industry of Michigan: and Michigan Soybean Commission.
Animals and equipment were provided by: Joel Powers; Francis Cousino family; Justin Walz; Abbie Walkowe; Diane and Katie Tenerowicz; Bruce Breuninger family; John Broesamle family; Alex Young family; Carl Graham family; Andrea Taepke; John Russell; Shelley Frazier; Huehl Farms; Schaible Farms; Lutzview Farm; Don and Ryan Rentschler; 4-H Service Club; Sandy Tighe: Mark and Susan Schalk; and several spinners who provided ongoing demonstrations.
Resource people and station presenters included: Milan FFA; Manchester FFA; Saline FFA; Diane Tenerowicz; Jennie Breuninger; Amanda Breuninger; Zeke Breuninger; Katelyn Horning; and Erica Drake.
Jackie Martin facilitated and led the "Tour through Michigan Commodities" and was assisted by many high school-aged leaders from 4-H and FFA programs across the county. Each represented a region of Michigan and its agricultural products.
Many thanks to everyone who helped clean up. Thanks also to the MSU Extension staff, Farm Council staff and Farm Bureau board, which assisted, and to Farm Bureau co-chairs Lynda Horning and Nancy Kohler.