College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Future Ag Terps

Carroll County ninth graders take an ag tour of campus
Author: 
Brandy Walterhoefer
Carroll County Students Learn about Sports Turf
Image Credit: 
Glori Hyman

Institute of Applied Agriculture Director, Glori Hyman stood atop a College Park bench addressing 30 ninth grade visitors from Carroll County. "How many of you are considering a career in agriculture?" she asked.

 One hand went up; one hand fluttered between up and down; and the remaining 56 hands stayed stubbornly at the students' sides.  Next, she asked, "How many of you want absolutely nothing to do with agriculture in your career?" Those stubborn hands shot up in the air.

"How many of you like to eat?  Wear clothes? Play outdoor sports on fields? Relax under a tree? Send flowers on Mother's Day? Enjoy a clean Chesapeake Bay?"   Hyman continued asking questions as a way of opening these young minds to the broad field of agriculture, the Institute of Applied Agriculture, and the ag tour of the University of Maryland College Park campus.

The tour started at the Xfinity Center to give the Carroll County students a feel for college life.  They gazed at the national championship basketball trophies and peered down onto the court.  Hyman made sure the students did not leave without knowing the story about the prominent Testudo. It took no time for the students to fall in love with Testudo and rub his lucky nose.

Then, the students experienced IAA’s hands-on learning at the Research Greenhouse Complex. In the potting room, Hyman and IAA student Brandy Walterhoefer demonstrated how to make “seed balls” with clay, potting soil, and flower seeds.  The gifted and talented ninth graders wonder what to do with their seed balls.  

“You can plant them in a pot or bomb a vacant lot with beauty,” explained Hyman.  Students laughed as they discussed spots around their high schools that needed some attention.

Flowers, seeds, soil and greenhouses are one aspect of agriculture and so is food production. The next stop took the students to the IAA’s Community Learning Garden where students grow fruits, vegetables and herbs outside of Eppley Recreation center. Since the students were already at Eppley, they took a quick look at the indoor pools and the Rock Climbing Wall.

Finally, it was time to visit the most important part of the IAA, Jull Hall. The students sat on the front steps of the building and chatted with current IAA students Max Sturges and Walterhoefer until IAA advisor Geoff Rinehart took over. Rinehart introduced to students to turfgrass and sports turf management.

The high school students eagerly stepped foot on J. Logan and Louise Schutz Football Practice Complex and Capital One Stadium to experience Big 10 sports, see the different tools used to maintain the fields, and learn the importance of turf management. “Who would like to take a try?” Reinhart asked. Several students then took moisture readings around the practice field.

The College Ag Tour concluded on the field of Capital One Stadium.  UMD’s Assistant Director of Athletic Grounds, Alex Steinman, answered the many questions about sports turf maintenance.

Sadly, the IAA had to say goodbye to the students for now, but hopefully, they will return again in four years as Ag Terps.

 

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