By NATASHA BRENNEMAN
Rain could not wash away youthful enthusiasm on Thursday as second-graders from school districts in Clarion and Forest counties learned about agricultural safety at Clarion County Park.
Safe Kids Clarion-Venango Coalition and its lead agency, Keystone SMILES Community Learning Center, held its annual Progressive Agricultural Day at the park. Each year, the event draws more than 450 students.
More than 50 exhibits were on display at the park, and each school divided into smaller groups for better interaction at the exhibits.
The stations were manned by volunteers from several government agencies, not-for-profit groups and area businesses.
The exhibits allowed students to learn about safety as it pertained to animals, firearms, sun, Lyme disease and other situations in an agricultural setting.
“They’re in an area where hunting is common. We want to teach to all areas of firearm safety,” said state police Trooper Ryan Wilson in reference to lessons about guns.
Cheyenne Kiehl, a student in the Redbank Valley School District, was excited to share knowledge from the exhibit about animals.
“Chickens lay eggs, and the eggs hatch baby chicks,” she said.
September Barger, a student in the Union School District, said that sunglasses and sunscreen provide good protection from the sun. She and other students at the event made bracelets with beads that change color in the sun. The bracelets are to serve as a reminder to children to apply sunscreen and use other protective measures against sunburn.
But lessons in safety did not deal only with agriculture. All children were given a properly fitting helmet that they used while riding pedal cars. The helmets will be delivered to the students’ respective schools.
The Clarion County event was the first of two Progressive Agricultural Days being hosted by the Safe Kids Clarion-Venango Coalition and Keystone SMILES. The second event is scheduled Thursday, May 18, at the Venango County Fairgrounds south of Franklin.