Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Lifestyles

February 25, 2010

Pet projects

STRASBURG — What do a steer, horse, pygmy goat, miniature horse and miniature donkey have in common? They are all projects of Stewardson-Strasburg FFA students.

Students shared those projects with other students in the form of a petting zoo in celebration of National FFA Week. Each FFA member is required to have a project in which he or she keeps a record, making the animals a good fit, according to ag instructor and FFA advisor Mark Wildman.

“They really enjoy and take pride in the work they do,” he said .

While the event Wednesday consisted mainly of students’ animals, Wildman admitted the group borrowed some mice and rats from biology class.

The school has activities planned to celebrate FFA week, including students driving their tractors to school. Wildman said 17 students drove their tractors, which is the largest number of farm equipment the school has had in its parking lot in the last two years.

“Kids take pride in what they have,” he said, adding students were polishing the tractors.

Lucas Helton was one student who drove his John Deere 9300 to school Tuesday. As secretary of the school’s FFA chapter, Helton looks forward to FFA week.

“Everybody else has stuff. This is kinda our week to show everybody what we do,” he said.

Helton lives on a farm, but he is in the minority when it comes to FFA members. Only about a third of Stewardson-Strasburg chapter members live on farms, according to Wildman, who said the chapter’s reach goes beyond that.

“When you look at ag and FFA, there’s so many more opportunities than are just available here,” he said.

Cathy Thoele can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 126 or cathy.thoele@effinghamdailynews.com.

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