Children from Casa Grande to Florence will be participating in “Ag-Ventures” such as “Veggie Ventures” and “From Alfalfa to Ice Cream” thanks to a Central Arizona Project Community Investment Grant given to the Natural Resource Education Center (NREC). The NREC’s mission is to nurture an awareness of natural and renewable resources and to teach farming, nutrition and water conservation techniques so these resources will be available to future generations.
This is just one of the programs funded by Central Arizona Project’s Community Investment program, which provides financial support for water and environmental educational organizations in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. Nonprofits are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in grant money. Applications are accepted twice each year—the deadline for grants to be awarded this June is May 1, 2014.
The NREC grant money is being used to provide interactive water education to students and teachers, engaging them in discussions and activities that show water as the predominant feature on the planet. Curriculum is presented to students through classroom visits and through a unique field trip agreement with Central Arizona College. Examples of these “Farm Filled Ag-Venture” field trips are:
Ag-Ventures Corn Festival -- Students in Grades 1 through 3 grind corn, make Johnny Cakes and make plastic by using cornstarch, water and oil.
Veggie Ventures- Students in grades 1-3 learn how to start a siphon tube and get to go into the field and pick radishes, turnips, and carrots to take home and share with their families.
Water Out West- This is a field day that educates 4th grade students about water conservation. This program ties into the Arizona State Standards. The students learn about watersheds, canal systems,
From Alfalfa to Ice Cream- K-2 students learn how cattle can turn their food (alfalfa), which is inedible to humans, into milk, which is an essential part of our diets.
The Five C’s of Arizona- This program is to introduce children to the five Arizona symbols: Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton and Climate—plus a sixth “C” for Conservation.