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‘Barn Raising’ the bar for agriculture education in Springfield

The new “Little Bulldog Barn” is one of only a handful at an Elementary School statewide
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 2:20 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (WTOC) - This year Springfield Elementary became just one of 23 elementary schools across the state to add an agriculture program.

While students have been learning about Ag in the classroom all year, now they have a new resource right behind their school to help bring their education into the real world, a barn.

Kari Helmey is the new Agriculture teacher at Springfield Elementary.

“At the beginning of the school year I was able to teach kids where their clothes come from, where their food comes from. When you’d ask them, they’d say, ‘my food comes from the grocery store,’” said Helmey.

Also new this year, Dr. April Harvey.

“I’m a first-year principal here at Springfield Elementary School.”

A new principal, new teacher, new program but perhaps the most exciting new addition.

“The Little Bulldog Barn here at Springfield Elementary,” said Helmey.

The Little Bulldog Barn was actually the vision of the prior principal Lisa Woods.

“She talked about ever since she was a little student at SES, wanting to have a cow,” said Dr. Harvey.

A cow to raise and give students a hands-on learning opportunity

But thanks to fundraising by PTO and community, they did her one better building a real working barn.

Opening students’ eyes to the world of Agriculture.

“Even a new student was in my class the other day and this kid said, ‘you’re really going to like Ag,’” Helmey recalls.

A dream come true for this first year teacher

“I have the best job in the world because I get to teach these children about agriculture then we get to comes outside and learn with hands-on experience,” said Helmey.

So, they may not have a cow, but they do have goats and something far more important in this little barn.

“We’re not just raising a cow; we’re raising young farmers. We’re raising students to think about their landscape and their environment and solve problems. I hope this will be a legacy for Effingham County as well as the community of Springfield,” said Dr. Harvey.

Dr. Harvey says they do plan on expanding to add a show ring for animals, a garden, hydroponics and more to help their youngest students get an early start in the world of Agriculture.

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