WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Instead of heading out to the farm, students at Heim Elementary school in Williamsville had the farm come to them!
Christina Scarpace's second-grade students were able to get a close-up look at how dairy cows are feed, cared for, and milked on a virtual field trip.
The staff of Reyncrest Farm dairy farm in Genesee County led Thursday's field trip as part of the American Dairy Association North East's virtual farm tours series.
Even though it was a virtual tour of the farm it was still interactive.
One student, Trey Kane, had been wondering where chocolate milk came from, thinking it came from brown cows, and he wasn't the only one with that question. Kelly Reynolds, who led the tour at Reyncrest Farm, made sure to clarify that cows of every color all produce the same plain milk.
Trey was happy to learn how chocolate milk was actually made.
"That they didn’t make chocolate milk. They got the chocolate and put it into the milk they made," Trey said.
One of his classmates was very excited to see how everything worked.
"There was something that really surprised me. That the milking things detached when they were done making milk, that was pretty cool," Reed Zabawa said.
While schools are returning to in-person events, this virtual option gave students an opportunity to get really close to the animals and farmers.
“I think being able to hear their questions being answered on live TV was pretty exciting for them and being able to see inside the barn, which usually you don’t get to see, you drive by and you get to see a few cows outside sometimes, but being able to see the whole milking process, I think that was exciting for them,” Scarpace said.
Scarpace's classroom was not the only one participating in the virtual field trip; about six teachers at her school joined in.
The American Dairy Association reports that over the past two years these types of visits have been widely used by a lot of schools. Since 2018, their virtual tours have been viewed more than 400,000 times.