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4,000 3rd graders visit school farm
pic agv-2a
Emily Bavaro, 8, rides high above the Ag Venture event on Java, an American quarter horse / Palomino mix belonging to Norma Souza, with Kristine Law helping out. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Marcy Hachman deemed Ag Venture at the Manteca Unified school farm a “huge success.”

She’s the representative of the UC Davis cooperative extension. Hachman credited several factors that worked in favor of the “Select San Joaquin” event on Wednesday, including the enthusiasm shared by the nearly 4,000 students, the hard work and dedication of 450 volunteers, and the clear weather.

“It was so foggy this morning that you couldn’t even see the farm equipment (across from the corn maze),” Hachman said. “The fog lifted just before the students arrived – the timing was perfect.”

Those attending this Ag Venture were third-grade students from Manteca, Tracy, Escalon, New Jerusalem, Lammersville, Banta and Jefferson school districts coupled with a few of the local private schools.

Hachman will oversee two more Ag Ventures during the school year, including a Jan. 20 event in Stockton (San Joaquin County fairgrounds) and another in March in Lodi (Grape Bowl).

However, she noted that Ag Venture in Manteca is unique because it’s held in an actual working farm.

“I think it made for a bigger impact on the kids,” Hachman said.

Dawson Zamora from Brock Elliott School came away impressed.

He enjoyed many of the exhibits on the school farm, making it difficult to select a favorite. “There was a fishing game I wanted to try,” Zamora said.

Students arrived to Ag Venture shortly before 11 a.m. for a scheduled presentation.

From there, they broke into groups to visit each of the stations and the corn mazes as designed by local ag students.

Justin Dalzell, a ninth-grade student from Manteca High, also helped out. His presentation was on corn.

“I made eight presentations during the day,” he said. “The kids were great. They were good listeners.”

Megan Galiste, an East Union High sophomore, served as a volunteer worker.

“My job was filling in when needed,” she said.

In addition, administrators along with district employees all did their part.

“I was a people mover,” Woodward School Principal Sherri Jamero said. “I made sure things moved around (the school farm) by pointing groups in the right direction.”

All told, it took a tremendous group effort to make Ag Venture a success, according to coordinator Janet Dyk.

“Our volunteers had a lot to do with it,” she said.

Dyk gave recognition to the presenters along with those in charge of putting together the displays, to the timers and orchard supervisors, to name a few.