AGRIscapes Open for Field Trips by Schoolchildren, Youth Organizations
Expect to see school busses arriving at AGRIscapes this spring.
Starting in April and running through mid-June, the facility will host more field trips from local schools which will have their choice of activities: visiting the children’s garden or Danny’s Farm petting zoo, picking their own strawberries, or getting a tour of the Cal Poly Pomona farm.
“The field trips are a great way to introduce children to an agricultural setting and farm activities,” says Craig Walters, AGRIscapes’ outreach director. “We are one of the only remaining large areas in the L.A. Basin being actively farmed today.”
The field trip program is open to preschoolers, K-12 classes, and children’s groups.
“People are very interested in experiencing how food is produced,” Walters adds. “In addition, we are discovering that schools are asking for agriculture curriculum, so we’re developing curriculum that will meet California state educational standards.”
The field trips are just one example of AGRIscapes ramping up its public outreach programs in the past year, inviting the public to visit the center and learn more about what Cal Poly Pomona does in agriculture.
Opened in 2001 as an agricultural demonstration and outreach facility, AGRIscapes boasts the popular Farm Store and hosts the Pumpkin Festival that draws thousands of people every October.
But last fall, it also saw a surge in field trips from local schools, Head Start programs, home schooled children, and other organizations. About 6,000 children participated in field trips at AGRIscapes – a 50 percent increase over 2015.
The children got to see the pumpkin patch, visit Danny’s Farm petting zoo, and go into the corn maze. In addition, about 2,000 adults accompanied the children on these trips.
The Plant Science Nursery at AGRIscapes also sold poinsettia plants to the public this past holiday season for the first time in 13 years. It also was the first time that the public has been allowed into the nursery’s greenhouse.
Ultimately, the Huntley College of Agriculture plans to build a barn and expanded facilities at AGRIscapes that will allow the petting zoo animals to be housed there. It also will contain antique and modern farming equipment for public display. It could be rented for public activities and events, Walters says.