Agriscience and Technology Spring Fair shows breadth of program
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., May. 3, 2013
The Glastonbury Regional Agriscience and Technology Center at Glastonbury High School held its annual Spring Fair on May 2 and 3. The fair was divided into three sections, with seventh-grade students who are potentially interested in the program invited during the day on Thursday, and then an afternoon/evening program open to the public that evening. Friday was for elementary school field trips to the center.
Agriscience teacher Jennifer Cushman explained that one emphasis of the program's curriculum was on reproduction and genetics, and that was reflected in many of the student projects being presented during the fair.
Senior Deanna Lacotera bred rabbits and made several observations. “Their gestation period is just 31 days, so they are quick breeders,” she said, adding that she had to perform a pregnancy test on the mother and give her measured, increased amounts of food and water. With a tan-colored father and a grey mother, Lacotera noticed that, interestingly three of the five babies were pure white, while each of the other two resembled one of the parents.
“I learned a lot, because I had to research everything that goes on while an embryo was growing,” Lacotera said. “You find out stuff that you didn't imagine before.”
Cushman added that all of the students had to secure homes for all of the baby animals before the breeding projects were approved.
Student Mikie Woodworth was showing her Great Dane, Lily – a show dog who is currently ranked #15 in the country for her breed. “She was in #7, but then we tried breeding and she dropped,” Woodworth said.
Demonstrations also showed the different segments of agriculture, and in turn, showed how broad the field is.
Student Sedina Begic's display showed the result of an experiment which compared traditional planting of a tomato plant, and a hanging or “topsy-turvy” planting. “In the course of four days, the topsy-turvy one wasn't as tall as a standard pot,” Begic said, adding that the chief cause of the difference was that the standard pot retains more water, however, the upside-down pot is easy for older people to care for.
For the larger animals, freshman Tammy Edwards brought in “Lexi,” a 6-year-old quarterhorse belonging to her cousin. “I ride and take care of him,” she said. “I'm answering whatever questions people have about horses in general, or about Lexi. They get to pet her, meet her, and find out about her. She's a good girl, and she likes the attention.”
The school's greenhouse was also filled with plants and flowers, many of which were on sale. Some were being grown for the Michaela’s Four O’Clocks – part of the Petit Foundation, as part of a community service project for students.
Cutting edge technology was represented, in the form of cloning – something acutally studied in the program. “Bio-tech is a pretty up-and-coming issue,” Cushman said, “with Dolly the sheep being the most famous example.” She said the reproduction and genetics class recently visited the University of Connecticut's bio-tech classroom.
“We were looking at the machinery that was taking the nucleus out of one cell and putting it in another,” she said. “That's what agriscience is becoming.”
For more information, visit www.glastonburyus.org/curriculum/careertechnical/agscience.