CASSTOWN — Second graders at Miami East Elementary learned the importance of caution in agricultural settings during Farm Safety Day on Tuesday.
The special event was part of National Farm Safety and Health Week, which runs Sept. 16-22 and is being recognized throughout the Miami East school district through Friday.
“We have a lot of farming out here,” said FFA member Lucas Gilliland, a junior at Miami East. “A lot of kids out here don’t know all of the safety involved with it. If any of them are ever put on roles that have to do with agriculture, we want them to avoid doing anything they shouldn’t.”
“Second graders are starting to get more involved outside,” said Marie Carity, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Miami East. “They might just be going outside to ride a bike or to play, and aren’t always supervised. We hope to bring awareness to them about their environment.”
Approximately 100 second graders were navigated through five activity stations in 15-minute increments, which included lessons on animal safety, equipment station safety, chemical safety, grain safety, and roadway safety.
For the animal station, a goat was volunteered by FFA member Maci Krites for children to interact with.
“At the animal station, they’re getting to interact with the goat and also do a depth perception activity, where they manipulate their eyeline to show how an animal might see you approaching them,” Carity said.
The equipment safety station demonstrated caution on all-terrain vehicles using an orange cone obstacle course, and the grain safety stationed demonstrated the importance of being careful around grain bins and silos.
“We’re trying to instill the concept that a person can be engulfed in grain very quickly,” Carity said. “Once you’re in, it’s very hard to climb back out. Obviously, there’s a lot of grain farmers in our community, so that’s pretty important.”
The chemical safety station offered activities on how to proper handling of chemicals and being able to recognize if chemicals are hazardous, while the roadway safety station demonstrated the importance of seat belts using a toy car with dolls on different ramps.
Miami East has now made a long tradition of emphasizing Farm Safety Week every year, having held engaging Farm Day activities for its second graders for at least nine years.
The stations were prepared and led by 19 FFA student volunteers, all juniors and seniors at Miami East High School.
“They’ve been working on this since the first day of school,” Carity said. “We put them in groups, they pick their activities, and they gather all their materials.”
“My family’s been in agriculture for a while and there’s been a lot of people in my family who’ve been injured,” Gilliland said. “I think it’s important to teach all of the kids to be safe when they’re younger to prevent them from danger when they’re older.”
“We host a farm day in May, and this is a really great follow-up to that,” Carity said. “These children spent two years with us at Farm Day, and this is a great way for us to get them aware of what’s going on around them more. We live in a rural community, and we just want everybody to be safe. We had a family provide a goat for the kids. We borrowed grain from the local elevator. It takes a village to raise our children.”