By John L. Braese
OWYHEE RESERVOIR – Charlie, the Holstein steer, stood quietly in the drizzling rain.
A crowd of Adrian fifth-grade students listened to how a cow’s stomach was actually one organ with four chambers.
After donning plastic gloves extending to their shoulders, the students stepped up on a milk crate next to Charlie and placed a hand inside the cow’s stomach.
Charlie took the probing without so much as a flinch.
The exercise was just one event as fifth grade students from around the county and even from Boise participated in Field Day April 26.
Usually at the University of Idaho farm in Parma, Charlie spends his days munching on different feed only to have people reach inside his stomach, pull out the digested food out and test the contents.
Charlie has been surgically altered with his stomach attached to his hide. A hole, about the size of a person’s hand, allows both those at the University of Idaho and students attending Field Day, access to his inner workings.
All those in the group from Adrian braved the green goo pulled from Charlie’s stomach. Immediately following the stop at Charlie’s station, the group went to lunch.
“It really was not that bad,” said Adrian’s Presley Speelmon as she removed her slime-covered glove into a trashcan. “It kind of feels weird.”
Those enjoying day one donned Les Schwab tire bags to protect themselves from the rainy conditions and carried on around the 30 stations set up around the Owyhee Park.
In two days, 906 students participated.
They learned about noxious weeds, parts of a fish, falconers, and soil conditions.
Many of the stations involved interactive exhibits. At one, students practiced their fly fishing techniques while another allowed the students to grab a raft and race each other on the reservoir.
As in past years, a popular stop was the Bureau of Land Management’s fire fighting stop.
After patiently listening about the dangers of range fires and what each could do to prevent them, each student took a turn at turning on the fire hose to hit a target. With the rain falling, a little extra water from the hose was barely noticed.
An additional exhibit that involved water proved to be a tad more difficult.
Nyssa’s Ellie Munk and her classmates had a few problems in the time-honored method of setting siphon tubes.
“It is hard,” Munk said as she placed her hand over the tube and pulled it from the water trough. “I have never done this so it is fun.”
The event, now in its 15th year, is an annual event for local fifth-grade students. With each year, the event grows in popularity. This year, Sacred Heart Elementary School of Boise made the trip.
In addition to the day, each student received a t-shirt to remember the day. Each year, a poster contest is held to design the insignia on the shirt. This year’s winning design was submitted by Shailee Rutan, a fifth grade student as Pleasant Valley Elementary located at South Mountain, Idaho. Pleasant Valley is part of the Jordan Valley School District.
The event also allows older kids to help. FFA members from Adrian, Jordan Valley, Ontario, Nyssa and Vale acted as guides and chaperones.
Have a news tip? Email news@malheurenterprise or call John L. Braese at 541-473-3377.