Hello peppers, friends, and family! Welcome to the third week of the 4-H Green Science Adventure Camp. My name is Clifford and I am the calf here at the MSU Tollgate Farm. I live in an enclosure with the goats and sheep and love it when new pepper friends come to visit. The first day of camp is always very new and exciting and I hope everyone enjoyed their time on the farm as much as I enjoyed watching all the activities.
To start the day, the peppers gathered outside for a pepper party (moo!) where they met their counselors and fellow peppers for the week. During the party, the peppers made new friends, reconnected with old friends, and decorated flags to represent their pepper groups. The peppers did a great job painting their flags and I think each design resembles the respective groups very well.
After making flags, the pepper groups went on a hayride to explore the farm. The peppers learned that the farm is 160 acres of land and everything on the farm has a purpose. The trees in the woods provide sap to make maple syrup, bees provide honey, and grass from the field provide food for the animals. Mr. Alan also taught the peppers the difference between hay and straw. Hay is grass as well as food for the animals. Straw is grain and used for bedding. Peppers were actually sitting on straw rather than hay on the hayride. The hayride is called a hayride because the wagon that the peppers sit in is normally used to haul hay bales, so it is a hay wagon. Since peppers are being transported around the farm in a hay wagon, they are taking a hayride.
The hayride also included some special stops for bonding activities. During one stop, Mr. Alan explained that every pepper at camp was participating in a 4-H program. Congratulations new 4-Hers! 4-H is a community of young people across America (and the world!) who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills through experiential exploration. To celebrate the occasion, the peppers learned the 4-H pledge.
After learning the pledge, the peppers spent some quality time together playing games. One game was the shark and minnow game. One pepper started off as the shark and had to tag the rest of the peppers who were the minnows. Whenever a minnow was tagged he/she became another shark and had to tag the minnows. After much running around, everyone eventually became a shark and the game was done.
Following the hayride, the peppers spent time in the garden. Each pepper group has its own garden plot. Today the peppers spent time identifying the different plants in the garden, weeding, and harvesting radishes. During the hayride, the peppers made the noises of their own thunderstorm, so hopefully this nudges mother nature to provide some water for the peppers’ thirsty plants! To end garden time, the peppers visited the Hoop House, which is a type of green house, to pick fresh tomatoes. There were many large ones ripe and ready to go, so each pepper group picked the best one to bring into the Garden Kitchen to make snack.
In the Garden Kitchen, Ms. Katie explained the importance of hygiene in the kitchen such as washing our hands. After all the peppers were cleaned up, they learned how to safely chop vegetables such as peppers (real peppers from the garden, not my pepper friends!) and tomatoes. The peppers made homemade salsa and homemade tortilla chips. Everyone asked for seconds so I know they did an excellent job cooking!
The morning sessions were all over, but the afternoon brought just as much learning and fun! In the afternoon the peppers spent time in the Children’s Garden doing a plant scavenger hunt. The clues were really tricky, but the peppers were able to figure them all out.
Now that the peppers had found different plants in the Children’s Garden, it was time to look at plants more in depth. The peppers played a game where they learned about the different parts of a plant, such as the root, stem, and leaf. They learned that the purpose of the stem is to provide transportation between the roots and leaves so that the leaves receive water and nutrients.
After exploring plant life, the peppers received their camp t-shirts and their counselors taught them how to tie dye. Some peppers tied their shirts into swirls and others didn’t tie theirs at all. Each pepper was very careful tie dying so no dye would get on their clothes. I can’t wait to see all the peppers wearing their shirts on Friday!
The peppers ended the day in the Garden Kitchen for another session with Ms. Katie. This time the peppers were able to apply their newly gained knowledge of plant structure to determine what part of the plant they were using for cooking ingredients. For the afternoon snack, the peppers made Sunbutter and Strawberry Jam. The Sunbutter was made out of sunflower seeds. Its name gave away the part of the plant it is: seeds! The Strawberry Jam was made out of strawberries, which are a fruit. Fruit holds the plant’s seeds, which makes the plant able to scatter seeds over larger areas. This is accomplished when an animal eats the fruit and then drops the seeds in a different area.
After snack time, the peppers went home to rest after a long day of learning and exploring. Tomorrow is Chicken Day and I know the new chicks on the farm are very excited to meet new friends. So rest up little peppers and I will see you tomorrow. Explore the gallery below to check out our day or like us on Facebook to see videos posted daily.
Clifford the Calf