If you can't capture an elementary-aged student's attention with worksheets, games and homework, certainly seeing a 20-pound rabbit, dwarf goats and egg-laying chickens will do the trick.

Zephyr Lane Elementary School first grader Julissa Arceo got to experience so many activities for the first time Friday — seeing a horse in person, learning how to milk a cow and how to successfully lasso an object.

Hundreds of other students were just as excited to get out of the classroom on a sunny Friday morning and spend time with Highland High School FFA students on their farm during the annual Fall Harvest.

"I learned a lot today," Arceo said, noting she also got a lesson on bees and even decorated a spoon to look like one.

The event gives both sets of students the opportunity to learn in a unique way: elementary school students visit various booths to see different areas of agriculture, while the high schoolers get to act as teachers and share all they know with the youngsters.

"It's pretty fun to teach them about this stuff," explained junior Christian Magana. "Maybe when they get into high school they'll join FFA and do ag events."

Magana's booth focused on the life cycle of a frog. From when they are eggs all the way until they reach adulthood, he showed children where frogs are found, what they eat, which ones are poisonous and even that the fattest frog weighs in at 7 pounds.

Other booths focused on traditional aspects of farming and agriculture, such as showcasing animals, growing fruits and vegetables and even learning how to milk a fake udder.

"Why are eggs so delicious?" junior Miguel Robles asked a group of wide-eyed students looking at a white chicken. "It's because they eat healthy. If they were to eat chips, the eggs would be nasty."

Some booths even covered topics such as electromagnets, how the Pony Express worked in the 1860s and the differences between various breeds of goats.

"A lot of kids are asking 'Is it a dog? Is it a sheep?' and I get to tell them all about goats," junior Caitlyn Brewster explained. "It's a fun opportunity."

As teachers explored the farm grounds with their students, they noted it's important to come to the Fall Harvest every year because it allows for their students to develop an appreciation for agriculture and how crucial it is for Kern County.

"Our principal and our school are really big on hands-on learning, and any chance to be out and be hands-on, like petting a horse or going to a grape booth, is great," said Aileen Ornelas, an Eissler Elementary School first grade teacher.

The Highland FFA students see themselves pursuing agriculture in one way or another in the future, and being able to introduce a younger generation to the field makes it all the more exciting to them. Senior Selina Black, brought her horse, April, to the Fall Harvest and had students draw pictures to send through the Pony Express. She then explained to them how the mail service worked in the past and why horses were so valuable. Additionally, they got to see how Black handled and cared for April, who stands at several feet taller than the youngsters.

"It's very important to teach them about animals," Black said. 

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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