From the Farm: Ag Education

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MAROA, Ill. (WCIA) — Most teachers do not want their students to run the class, but one vocational agriculture teacher let some freshmen do just that and was pleased with the outcome.

Vo-Ag Instructor & FFA Advisor Cassie Crouch lead many of the Maroa High School students outside to the retention pond adjacent to the school.

“I had freshmen in my Intro to Ag class and I usually let my freshmen create something that is their own and kind of leave a mark and kind of get them started in high school ag,” Crouch said. “And I had a couple of individuals who were very into the bass fishing team, very into natural resource conservation and so we started talking about the pond and we realized that we didn’t know the ecosystem that was out here that we created and so I kind of talked to them about what they wanted to do and that’s where we got started with the project today.”

On the program was Department of Natural Resources specialist Jim Garavaglia, who shocked the pond.

“We’ve got our electro fishing boat out here today,” said Garavaglia. “Our little pond electro fishing boat. We are going to see what fish are present here in this retention pond. Students are going to get lengths and weights on the fish and we are going to just see what’s present in the pond so the students can kind of write up a management plan; possibly put some regulations on the pond and see what’s going on with the pond so they have an idea of how to manage it.”

So what might some of those management practices be? What might be one of those checkboxes?

“I don’t believe there was any official stockings on the pond, so we are not sure what species might be in here, so the first might be stocking certain species if they are needed,” said Garavaglia. “Other possibilities might be putting a regulation on the pond to help take some fish out if there is some stunting of overpopulation. Other methods may be if there is too much aquatic vegetation or not enough aquatic vegetation. Kind of seeing what species are here and doing some water plantings to help with the water quality.”

Students learned wide variety of lessons on Tuesday. We will have more reports on that in days to come.

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