Historic Douglas County, Inc.
Heritage Day at Lowell Ranch is another innovation of Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF). CALF’s Heritage Day focuses on educating children not only about agriculture’s importance today but teaches them about the pioneering struggles of farming and ranching, that built the foundation of this great country we know today. Truly, Heritage Day is emblematic of the word “Leadership” in CALF’s name …Leadership in educating our youth on both the past and the present of the agricultural industry.
Originally, Heritage Day was first started by CALF in 2010. This 2012 session of Heritage Day focused on fifty-one Fourth Graders from Kilmer Elementary, accompanied by two teachers and four chaperones. Arriving under warm, sunny skies shortly after 9:00 AM on the last Thursday in April, these excited but very well-mannered Fourth Graders were thrilled about their great opportunity to learn about this working ranch.
Inside the CALF Building, the group was welcomed by CALF’s President, Brooke Fox, who introduced the rest of the CALF personnel that would be guiding the students throughout the day: Kristen Nein, Education Coordinator; Ardyce Karabatsos; and, John Berry, retired teacher and current treasurer of the Castle Rock Historical Society and Museum. Brooke talked to the students about the importance of agriculture, interacting with the students to explain our dependence on agriculture’s supplying of food, feed for our livestock and other animals, bio-fuels, and fiber products for many uses from home building to the clothes we wear. The students were then informed that they would be guided through four learning stations throughout the day. The morning would be spent at the “Pioneering” and “Innovations and Agriculture” stations and, after lunch, the students would focus on the “Ranch Livestock” and “Ranch Life” stations, the latter doing a comparison of pioneer ranch life and today’s ranching with modern, efficient farm implements and conveniences.
The outdoor “Pioneering” station was led by Kristen in a bucolic, creek-side ranch area divided by Plum Creek. Kristen stopped at a rusted old car hulk protruding from the creek’s bank. The ensuing lesson between Kristen and the students began with the threats and destruction of the 1965 flood …and, culminated with an interactive discussion on the prevention of erosion. It was also at this creek-site spot that Kristen told the students about the beginning years of Colorado, how gold was discovered and the entrance of the miners and ranching pioneers. The Fourth Graders really enjoyed panning for gold …a little bit of “Color!
John Berry handled the “Innovations and Agriculture with both humor and the wizardry-like control of a “Grand Master.” John told the students about early communication, including telegraph and how it worked along with showing them the first telephone used in the Castle Rock Depot. The Keystone dehorning tool and how and why it was used generated a few “…oh’s” from John’s Fourth Grade audience. John also talked about how the pioneers viewed the “Great Desert” what, today, we reference as the Great Plains. Station 2 on innovation and agriculture closely held everyone’s attention.