Every spring, a big yellow school bus crunches along the gravel road, carrying a busload of Jefferson County fifth-graders on their way to visit COARC’s Research Garden and Learning Center. With the research center as their classroom for a day, the students get their hands on honey bees (the drone bees are docile and can be gently handled) and in compost (the habitat of earthworms and other wonders), and their heads around topics such as soil science and plant breeding.
The program, called Seeds of Science, is intended to plant enthusiasm for agricultural science among young Jefferson County residents. And there’s plenty of interest to sow, from the edible delights of garden-fresh carrots to the miniature battlefields of predatory beetles. In this way, COARC is cultivating the next generation of scientists.