Area students get down on the farm at Rock Hill

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 12, 2003

Rachel Cole learned an interesting, possibly strange, lesson Thursday at her school - some snakes are really nice.

Now, the Rock Hill Elementary fourth grader thinks she may like to have one as a pet. She thinks the two dogs she already has at home would have fun playing with the snake.


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More than 500 fourth-grade students from across the county converged at Rock Hill Elementary Thursday for Agriculture Awareness Day. The event was a joint venture of the Lawrence County Farm Bureau, the Ohio State University Extension office and the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District. The day featured COSI On Wheels' "Agriculture Adventures" traveling science program as well as various other companies and government agencies.

Carrie Cheek, education coordinator for the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District, said the program was funded through donations from Duke Energy and the Liebert Corp., along with funds from the farm bureau. Pepsi-Cola donated the soda for the children. Fourth graders came from St. Lawrence, Symmes Valley, Chesapeake, Rock Hill and Dawson-Bryant elementary schools as well as Ironton Middle School.

Rock Hill High School chemistry and physics students manned some of the COSI informational booths, making it a learning experience for older students as well.

Sara Vanoder, a chemistry student, worked with a model cow that the children could milk. While she and her counterparts may not get really excited about it, the younger children do.

What was also surprising to some at the fair was the fact that the children loved the snake display from Ohio University Nature Center that featured real snakes. For safety purposes, the center brought non-poisonous snakes that were bred in captivity.

"They even want to touch them. And more girls want to do it than boys," said Merri Warden as she had a snake around her neck. "We teach the kids to have respect for snakes and not to fear them."

"We're not saying go out and grab a snake," said Dr. Bob Culp, director. "But, if they see one in the wild, just leave it alone."