Montevallo-based group teaches students where milk comes fromPublished 5:01pm Thursday, September 19, 2013
By TIM REEVES/The Selma Times-Journal
SELMA – Apparently, cows have four stomachs, can eat grass, hay, carrots and even cotton and have a real long tongue. And, contrary to what some thought Selma students thought on the morning of Sept. 13, chocolate milk does not come from brown cows.
All of this, and a lot more, was learned by local school children as the Alabama Dairy Farmers mobile classroom, which is based in Montevallo, made a visit to both Sophia P. Kinston and Cedar Park Elementary Schools in Selma on Sept. 13.
Sophia P. Kingston pre-K teacher Phyllis Jones, who helped arrange for the visit, said she first saw the mobile classroom at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library during the library’s summer reading program.
“We took a number of our children from the summer school program and we them to our school so more of our boys and girls could learn about nutrition,” Jones said. “I think the students all had a great time.”
Led by Amanda Fox, the classroom travels to a different school — or two — each and every day.
“We stay busy and are out there every day,” Fox, who has done the program for five years, said. “I also go to Texas during their state fair, to North Carolina for their state fair, and when the weather turns cooler, we will also go to schools in Florida.”
Alabama Dairy Farmers, Lone Star Milk Producers and Southwest Dairy Museum fund the mobile classroom, which provides the demonstrations free of charge to schools and other educational outlets.
“I think these children will remember this for a long time,” Jones said. “Many of them — most of them — have never seen a dairy cow and I think they had a great time.”
During her presentation to the full student body at Sophia P. Kingston, Fox explained the different vitamins nutrients within milk, and what parts of the body drinking milk helps.
Fox also demonstrated on Daisy, the 9-year-old, 800-pound dairy cow that accompanied her Friday, how dairy farmers milk cows, first showing the students how to milk a cow by hand, then using the mechanical tools dairy farms feature today.
During the demonstration, students watched as more than a gallon of milk was pulled from Daisy, traveling through clear hoses and into a clear holding tax. Fox also explained the process milk goes through after it is pulled from the cow to where it becomes ready for people to drink.
“Every class, every school is different, but you have to have fun with this,” Fox said. “It’s important for these children to know how important milk is and where it comes from.”