On Friday, May 6, Ranchland Trust of Kansas, in collaboration with the Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom, demonstrated to over 700 third-grade students in USD 475-Junction City the “Power of the Prairie.”

“Our goal was to educate the third-graders about the tallgrass prairie and how it contributes to Kansas,” says Heather Huntington Fuesz, RTK board member. “Many students don’t have an opportunity to understand the prairie, and in their eyes it is simply an empty space.”

Fuesz says the fact is that the prairies of Kansas are far from empty. There are 2.5 times more cattle than people in Kansas. For many of these animals, their home is on the over 18 million acres of grasslands and prairie in the state.

The historical, economical and recreational value of the prairie was demonstrated at the Ag Day. RTK and KFAC representatives demonstrated the “Power of the Prairie” with samples of native grasses. Fuesz showed the students pictures of her family’s ranch as well as a family photo from the late 1880’s of her great-grandmothers house on the Flint Hills prairie. The children discussed how this was similar to the real life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The 18th annual Geary County Ag Day attempts to give students, many of whom come from all over the world due to their connection to Fort Riley, a taste of agriculture life. The event, which is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension Geary County and the Geary County 4-H Program, took place at the 4-H fairgrounds all day.

The students rotated among educational stations, learning about farm machinery and farm safety and saw cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. Other displays demonstrated the importance of agriculture and the use of farm products.

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