Bridge students explore career in agriculture

Bridge students explore career in agriculture
Posted on 10/22/2018


With the daily grind of work and school, it can be easy to forget just how much of Douglas County is rural. An organization called CALF (Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation) is doing its part to remind us. They host a Fall Harvest Tour that includes visiting livestock, picking pumpkins, and sampling homemade apple butter. The idea is to remind visitors of the importance of agriculture in our economy.

On October 16 they hosted a group of students from the Bridge Transition Program Parker Voyagers class. For some of these post-high school special needs students it was a rare visit to a rural community. “A hands-on experience is huge,” says Bridge teacher Jillian Fenton. “They think animals are cute, and then they see them in realize they’re cute, but they do also, like, smell.”

After feeding ducks and chickens, and petting cows they were prepared to answer their question of the day: “Do you want to live on a farm?” The answers came pretty quickly. “No…no,” said one student. Another added,  “I wouldn’t want to live on one either, because I find them a little unsanitary.”

Some students had the opposite opinion, thanks to bonding with the animals. First year student Bella Kirshner loved the visit because she currently works on a ranch. “I like animals, and I like just to pet them and brush them.”

Others bonded for entirely different reasons. Student Shaelyn Malone fell in love with Peaches - a blind cow. Malone has a speech impediment that requires her to occasionally use a talking device. “How can’t see,” she wondered. “I can see. She can’t. Right? I can. Why? Why female cow can’t see?” Her heart resonated with Peaches perhaps because of their disabilities. “She’s so beautiful like me, and I love her.” More likely the cow was a good reminder of their shared abilities.

These students will be picking a career of their own upon graduation, which is just on the horizon. “It could be retail. It could be the food industry,” said Fenton. Kim Roth, Program Manager at CALF added, “The hope is that we teach them at a young age, they become enthusiastic, they want to go into agriculture.” Whatever the career path becomes, the rural experience was a great exploration of Colorado’s overlooked roots.

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