Ella Lewis School participates in ‘Adopt A Cow’ program
STEUBEN, Maine (WABI) - For the first time, Maine students are participating in the “Adopt a Cow” program; a National Program run by ‘Discover Dairy” in Pennsylvania.
Nearly 550 classrooms from around the state are taking part, each adopting one of three calves born in September at a farm in Turner.
For her first and second grade class, Ella Lewis School teacher Mariah Donovan wanted to go a little bigger than a goldfish or a hamster.
“It was a total surprise,” said 2nd grader Sylvie Smith
“I told them it was a cow, and they gave me the ‘Miss Donovan’s crazy’ look,” Donovan added.
The students at Ella Lewis have adopted a six-week-old Holstein calf named Ida from Brigeen Farms in Turner, through the Adopt a Cow program.
They’re learning about calf pens and doing activities like making Ida a fenced in space to play, out of toothpicks and popsicle sticks.
“The program itself has lots of lesson plans and different activities planned,” said Sarah Littlefield, Executive Director of the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council.
“They’ll get an update on their calf every six to eight weeks and kind of learn about what’s new in her world,” said Littlefield.
The name of the game with this program is both to have fun and to learn at the same time.
The kids are clearly having fun, and they’re also clearly learning the important stuff.
“When she gets older,” Smith said, “she’ll be able to make milk to make ice cream.”
As important as the Adopt A Cow program is to teachers and students, it’s also an important program for the farmers, according to Brigeen Farms owner Betsy Bullard.
“We’re extremely excited to be working on this,” Bullard said. “I think we’re pretty aware that not a lot of people know exactly what life on a farm looks like. Especially not a modern farm here in 2022. So, this is a great opportunity for us to use cute, fuzzy little calves as a vehicle and get a little bit better understanding of what part dairy farms play in the local landscape,” said Bullard
“It’s so essential for kids to have a respect and understanding of animals,” added Donovan. “And we can start with cows because they provide us with so much so I really want them to understand and appreciate what we can use cows for and what our local farmers do for us,” said Donovan.
There are a lot of lessons a first and second grader can learn from adopting a calf.
Ida is even teaching the students at the Ella Lewis school about the time and distance from Turner to Stuben.
“She’s three hours away,” said Smith.
For more information on the Adopt A Cow program, drinkmainemilk.org
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