Seed to Sunflower

This week’s #CloverU Camp was right up my ally! It really tested my teaching abilities as I dug into plant science with second and third graders. Horticulture is my area of interest within my major at Iowa State University. Reading, studying, and testing over the topic was a piece of cake compare to explaining it in a way that would make sense to those who have never heard of the terms: germinate, embryo, and photosynthesis.

I can feel myself growing from a seed to a sunflower with each opportunity I am granted as I express my passion for agriculture. The campers might be exploring the topic but I am learning just as much from them as they are from me!


This summer has really heighted my love for agriculture. Getting kids outside and exploring nature this week is just what we need in a world surrounded by technology. Unplugging and really “Digging Deep” into a topic that feeds, clothes, and provides for us.


One of my campers at Iowa County brought this plant up to me and asked why the corn was blue. It gave me an opportunity to explain why seeds are often pretreated and how it helps to decrease the amount of chemicals applied to the soil. It also gave me a chance to explain where the roots and shoots begin to grow from the seed.


Speaking of seed growth- can you find the embryo, cotyledon, and seed coat? #CloverU Campers can now point and explain all three to you!

Embryo: Beginning of a new plant.

Cotyledon: Provides food for the embryo.

Seed Coat: Protects the seed.

Next week is Messy Science Sensations. Stay tuned for more. Have a great weekend! 🙂



Campers learn about Antibiotic Residue

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This week’s #CloverU theme had me thinking about the antibiotic misconceptions in today’s food industry. Vet Science  Camp was conducted in Johnson, Iowa, and Washington Counties. Both farm and city kids participated in the day camp. #CloverU is open to everyone who has an interest in learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

41 campers studied the signs of stress and illness, what to do in situations of panic, and how to properly handle an animal. We began the camp by comparing the stomach of a human to a ruminant. Did you know cows have 4 chambers and that is why they can graze grass and humans can’t? (I am still in my teaching mode haha).

Looking at the difference between intramuscular and subcutaneous injecions; the kids gave blue food coloring shots to bananas.

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Matty fills his syringe with blue dye

After learning how to give injections to an animal; the campers looked at labels and discovered the importance of dosage, expirations, and uses. Lilly looked at her bottle and asked me, “what is a withdraw period?”

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I asked Lilly, “when you take medicine at home do you have to wait a few hours before the Tylenol is out of your system to take it again?” She of answered yes and asked it if was similar in animals. “Do the antibiotics leave their systems too?”

A withdraw period is the length of time the farmer has to wait after giving a medication to an animal before taking it to market. Animals have to be cleared of antibiotics before being butchered due to the risk it proposes to humans.

Records are an important part of this process as they are required by sale barns.

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The campers wanted to see how the medication leaves our systems over time so we did an experiment to demonstrate this principal. Katie is holding a test tube filled with sodium Hydroxide. I added a pH test solution to her tube which turned the liquid pink. The kids each took turns taking part of the solution from the person’s tube in front of them.

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The antibiotic residue leaves the body until it is completely out of the system. Our bodies use it up until we have utilized it all.

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After being a veterinarian in training; the kids were ready to play with real animals! We asked the 4-Hers to share with the campers how to care for the animals, signs of stress, and how to handle the rabbit properly.

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Stay tuned for more on #CloverU. Have a great weekend and remember to make your own decisions when it comes to our food system. Farmers care!


Summer Avocado & Tomato Chicken


Oh My!! Chicken and rice is a must this hot summer! Eating fresh vegetables has been my jam over the last few weeks; I will for sure be making this avocado and tomato blend again!


I went to the store Sunday morning and came home with an onion, garlic, green pepper, couple tomatoes, and an avocado. Not only is this recipe delicious; it is light and adds a twist to grilled chicken.


I began by sauteing onion and garlic in a medium pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.


Mom, Megan and I took turns chopping up the green pepper, tomato, and avocado.


After combining the rest of the vegetables to the pan; we finished sauteing by added oregano leaves, cumin seeds, and red wine vinegar.


If you would have asked me to try avocado a year ago I would have said eww , but now I add it to almost everything!! It is a natural fat that has a creamy texture which helps to thicken the sauce.


Caution: The aroma might be tempting enough to eat the vegetable mix straight out of the pan ;). Just be sure to save enough to share!


Mom grilled the chicken out on the deck while we were letting the flavors blend together. Once done, we cut the chicken and added it to the red wine dressing.


Have you ever had sticky rice!? It is one of the best inventions ever!! Anywho, make brown, white, or sticky rice and put it in a giant bowl in the middle of the table!


Now, the most important part of this meal is the presentation! Dress the chicken up with the vegetables you desire and top it over rice to enjoy! I added a glass of wine to my meal (Moscato) to enhance the flavors of the chicken.



Red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, olive oil, chicken, vegetables, and rice.


Go Green for #FarmSafety

Working with three different extension offices this summer is allowing me to observe many empowering county projects. Today Washington County Extension held a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day.


Seeing the kids excited about Farm Safety put a huge smile on my face. Kids are craving the opportunities to learn and this is the prime age for them to absorb all of the information placed in front of them.


Green: Green for 4-H, Green for Clover Kids, Green for Clover University, and Green for Innovative, Inventive, and Energy. Green is a reoccurring theme throughout Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Amy Green, WA County Youth Coordinator, even has the last name “Green” as she holds up her hand and says 1, 2, 3, 4H to get the youth’s attention.


Today’s #FarmSafety topics covered equipment safety, disability awareness, gun and PTO safety, hand washing, stranger safety, 1st aid station, and sun, mower, and chemical safety.


Washington County invited a special guest to visit with the kids before lunch. Kaj O’Mara with KCRG weather safety and the mobile weather lab talked with the students about being weather prepared at all times.


Does this look like a typical Iowa day or what!? Haha it might be just my imagination but its very possible that Iowa’s temperature will raise from 34 to 91 degrees in one week. The kids sure had a laugh!!


After lunch the sessions continued with chemical safety. A farm scene was drawn to show chemical drift. Spraying might affect the apple trees, the barns, or even “Sally’s” bike. It is important to be aware of drift potential and the dangers posed to applicators.


The office was buzzing with excitement from morning to afternoon. The kids walked away with #Safety bags, an “All Aboard the Safety Train” t-shirt, and curious minds as they continue to learn about #FarmSafety through actions on their own family farms.

Now GO and be GREEN for #safety; 4-H style!