HELENA — Even though Agriculture is a huge industry in Montana, not every kid gets to experience it growing up. However, thanks to a Helena teenager and Life Scout Phillip Patten more elementary students got to see firsthand where their food comes from and other ways agriculture impacts their lives.
For his Eagle Scout project, Patten organized an AG Day for fifth-grade students at Four Georgians Elementary School. The students toured several stations where they learned about crops grown in the state and products we get from animals, such as what it means when milk is labeled skim or whole milk.
“I’ve always been interested in the AG industry because I grew up on a ranch and always loved messing around with cattle and having the experience,” Patten told MTN. “A lot of younger kids in the city and smaller schools don’t have that experience to go and see agriculture.”
Four Georgians fifth-grader Drew Thompson said the event was a lot of fun and he learned a bunch in the process, with leatherworking being one of his favorite stations.
“I learned that when you wet down leather it gets less durable and you can make imprints in it,” noted Thompson.
Teachers at the event said it was a fantastic opportunity for the students, and were very impressed with all the work Patten put in.
“It’s good because it gives kids the opportunity to see what happens around them in Montana that they might not know about,” explained Rachel Heaton. “It gives them experiences they would have never had otherwise.”
The teachers also noted they were already thinking of ways to incorporate what the kids learned at the AG Day into their further education.
“I think this was a fantastic opportunity and it was done so well,” said Kristen Lyndes. “As a teacher is was awesome to get to see young adults running groups for kids. From the planning to the execution, all of it was done so well.”
Patten was inspired to hold the AG day after seeing East Helena students get the opportunity each year with the Farm Bureau and wanted to offer something for Helena kids.
He’s thankful for everyone who donated supplies or their time to make it possible and is glad the kids got to have fun while learning about AG.
“That’s what my hope was, that they’d be excited to learn about the industry and have a fun experience,” said Patten.