Golden Apple: Todd County Students Learn About Natural Resources
Bees, hay bales, bubbles and a whole lot of smiles could be spotted all over the Katterhagen farm today as nearly 500 students learned about natural resources.
“Over the years, we’ve got to be flirting with between 9,000-10,000 kids that cross the farm,” said Dale Katterhagen.
For the past 23 years, the Todd County Soil and Water Enviro-fest has been held at the Katterhagen farm.
“If we’ve got the space and the resources to do it, we are glad to host any kid,” said Marie Katterhagen.
Along the 24 stations at the farm, one of them included a stop where students were able to learn about the science behind bubbles.
“We can read textbooks all day long or pamphlets or whatever in the classroom, but to actually be out here in this environment with the hands-on activities is amazing,” said Julie Twardowski, Sixth Grade Teacher at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Catholic School.,
All schools in Todd County were in attendance including private schools and home school groups.
“The last two years we have dramatically expanded; actually, we’ve doubled in size,” said Shannon Wettstein, the Todd County Soil and Water Planner. “That’s been a bit of a challenge, but it’s been exciting for everyone to have new stations, new presenters and have the farm fill up with a bunch more kids.”
During the activities, Twardowski thinks the kids are absorbing more information than they realize simply by having fun.
“Then we go back to school and the next day, we talk about everything we’ve gone through and how much they’ve learned,” said Twardowski.
They know the importance of exposing the students to new experiences even just by being out at the farm.
“We’re losing that whole generation of kids that know something about the environment or at least living on the land,” said event volunteer Gary Martin.
It’s something that the Enviro-Fest hopes will impact the students to maintain Minnesota’s natural resources.
“To get them to realize how they fit into the bigger picture and what they can do to help protect our natural resources,” said Wettstein.
Even after 23 years, the Katterhagens still get excited to teach the kids about the farm and host nearly 600 people for the annual event.