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Lifestyles

Squeal School teachers workshop visit pig barn

Henry-Senachwine and Putnam County teachers work on building barns that can withstand a “huffing wolf."
Henry-Senachwine and Putnam County teachers work on building barns that can withstand a “huffing wolf."

HENRY — What can you learn at Squeal School? Teachers from Marshall, Putnam and LaSalle counties signed up for this University of Illinois Extension Marshall-Putnam Ag in the Classroom workshop to find out.

They participated in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects led by Julie Read, M-P AITC coordinator, that incorporated either pigs or cows.

Marshall-Putnam Farm Bureau donated the book “The Girl Who Thought in Pictures” by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley to each attendee. This tells the story of Dr. Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism but went on to become famous for her designs of cattle equipment.

Teachers mapped out their own farm as an activity that could accompany this book. From there they worked in teams building barns from a variety of materials that would hold up to the Big Bad Wolf’s huffing and puffing.

Another team activity was solving clues to open the Pig Escape Box. A presentation provided by Susan Glassman, food and nutrition educator for Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam Extension Unit, was titled “Muscle, Meat and Protein Foods.” She explained the science behind cooking meat and how to prepare it for optimal tenderness and flavor. Her demonstration of peach glazed pork loin served as a main dish for lunch. Lunch was sponsored by COUNTRY Financial. Representatives Steve Vogel, Jonathan Krieghauser and Matt Hostetter joined the group for lunch and shared discount program information.

The afternoon was spent touring the pig barn at Darren Brown’s farm. Brown and Alan McCully, DVM, explained how the pigs were cared for in this brand new barn. Their tour included Brown’s sorting barn for cattle. Teachers were able to see stanchion equipment similar to what Dr. Temple Grandin designed. Brown’s farm has a menagerie of animals from donkeys to ducks, as well as Rhode Island Red chickens and one proud peacock.

At the end of the day one teacher stated, “I really enjoyed my time! There are so many things I can adapt to my classroom that I am thrilled about.”

Each teacher earned Continuing Educational Units and took home sacks filled with resources from Illinois Ag in the Classroom, Marshall-Putnam Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Beef Association and Midwest Dairy.

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