Second-graders from L.L. Owen Elementary School spent time in outdoor classrooms during a recent field trip to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
They looked, listened and learned about goats, pigs, cows, fish and other creatures.
“We’re studying the different animal groups so we want them to come see the different animal groups,” said Ginger Atchison, a second-grade teacher. “We’re going to observe the animals and we’ll put them in their classifications such as mammal, birds, etc. Then, we’re going to write about them.”
Nearly 200 students toured the campus’ livestock area, which is part of the 211-acre UAPB Farm used for research, demonstrations and teaching purposes. The students also spent time learning about fish at the UAPB Aquaculture Research Station, which includes 113 research ponds and associated research facilities.
It was the first time that many were able to see different animals up close. Children got a chance to pet a baby goat and to touch a variety of fish during their visit.
“It’s good,” said second-grader Jacob Vick. “I haven’t been to a farm like this. The goats feel soft.”
Sarah Phillips of Watson Chapel watched as her 7-year-old daughter, Bethany, went from station to station, taking in the sights and sounds.
“I think it’s a good learning experience because some of them may not otherwise get to see these animals up close like this,” Phillips said.
“I like the goats and the pigs,” Bethany said. “I learned that pigs make ham and pigs don’t sweat.”
Vince Wiley, project director at the UAPB Farm, quizzed students on their knowledge of where eggs, milk and other products come from.
“What are cows known for?” he asked, as he stood near a fenced-in field where black cows stood munching on grass.
“Milk,” the children chimed, then later added cheese.
At the Aquaculture Research Station, the students learned how fish food is made, used colorful glass beds to estimate populations and heard UAPB Collegiate Fishing Team coach Scott Jones talk about competitive fishing. They also learned about feeding tiny fish.
“Do you know what baby fish are called?” asked Kayla McCoy, a research associate. “They’re called fry. We feed them zooplankton. Do you guys know any plankton?”
A few students mentioned Plankton, a character in the animated television series “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Later, the children learned about different species of fish. Research assistant Otis Johnson gave students a chance to pet fish in a trough while telling them that rosy red fathead minnows are from Arkansas, that tilapia are from Africa and other fish facts.
Schools interested in scheduling visits to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff may contact the Office of Recruitment at 870-575-7176.