Take 267 fourth graders from four different schools. Mix them well with eight presenters and various stations throughout Reed City’s Rose Lake Park and Gingrich Meadows. Sprinkle in hands-on activities to open young eyes to life on a farm. Top with two days of beautiful weather. What have you got?
You end up with Osceola County’s Project Rural Education Days (R.E.D.), held Sept. 23 and 24. Project R.E.D., now in its 27th year, is coordinated by Jacob Stieg.
Stieg, a GLE member, lives on a Centennial Farm and actually attended the event himself as a fourth grader. He presented at the event for four years and has now coordinated the event for 11 years in his role as Osceola County’s 4-H Coordinator.
He believes the impact of the event carries well beyond its two days. Fourth grade students from four Osceola County schools invited to Project R.E.D. each year (Evart, Marion, Pine River and Reed City) come from predominantly rural environments where agriculture is king. But whether raised on a farm or not, Project R.E.D. opens young eyes to aspects of farming not always evident, including career choices. Students pick up knowledge about agricultural, environmental, and even electrical science.
“Great Lakes Energy’s PowerTown safety demonstration is a great fit with Project R.E.D.,” claims Stieg. He notes that it demonstrates electrical safety using real-life scenarios in a way that leaves a lasting impression on students.
“Anywhere you go in an agricultural environment, you need power,” Stieg observes. “It’s critical to teach our youth about electrical safety and what to do in everyday life to keep themselves safe.”
The annual two-day event of Project R.E.D. is the result of a local partnership between Osceola Parks and Recreation, the Osceola 4-H program through the Michigan State University Extension, Gingrich Meadows (owned by the local Gingrich farming family), and the Osceola County Farm Bureau. Delivering this educational field day experience through Project R.E.D.’s “non-traditional classroom environment” sparks the interest of young students in agriculture as a part of everyday life as well as a potential career choice. Great Lakes Energy is proud to participate.
Visit the Safety Demonstrations page on our website to bring our PowerTown presentation to your school or youth group.