Hello again! This week has been pretty crazy for Jake and I here in Region 18. Between County Fair season and our garden project truly starting to take root (sorry for the pun), we have been keeping ourselves very busy. Last Friday, Jake got his very first county fair experience! He was able to help with Goat Check-In at the Marion County fair while I got to use my brand-new Pullorum Typhoid testing certification to help blood test at the Poultry Check-In. The next day, we were back at the Marion County Fairgrounds to host the county’s very first Skillathon! In this event, teams are split into age divisions (K-3, 4-12, and Adult) and are able to compete various components of Poultry Evaluation. The different stations that each team had to compete at were Body Part Identification, Meat Cut Identification, Comb Type Identification, Breed Identification, In-Shell Egg Grading, Egg Type Hen Placement, and Brooder Issue Identification, with a tie-breaker of Carcass Grading. We were thrilled with the turnout, and had plenty of people let us know that they learned a lot when competing and still had fun. First place teams received certificates, custom bag chairs, and $25 while second place teams received certificates and custom livestock buckets! Pictured below are the first place winners from each age division, along as the flyer used to advertise the event.
On Sunday, Jake was able to help out with Barnyard Olympics at the Marion County fair. I wasn’t able to be there, but it sounded like a lot of fun! Monday rolled around, and I took the morning to PT test poultry at the Mahaska County Fair and then met Jake in Colfax at the Jasper County Fair. While we were there, we got to host a craft booth to teach people about pollination. Participants were able to make their very own bees, and got to “pollinate” paper flowers with chalk dust! We were even able to see what bees see with the “bug eyes”. It was a lot of fun, and we got to meet some very nice people. Jake and I got the chance to walk around the fairgrounds, and he pet a sheep and a hog for the very first time. That night, we were able to walk in the parade, and we were shocked with the amount of people who were there! It was amazing to see the community come together in that way.
Tuesday was another busy day, as we hosted our “Planting Event” at DMACC Newton campus. It was an amazing turnout, and we cannot thank the people that showed up enough. At this event, we were able to install the first section of the Inspiration Garden! The Native Pollinator Garden consists of five 6’x10′ beds that are full of native pollinator plants. We were able to do this through the generosity of the Keep Iowa Beautiful grant, sponsored by Alliant energy. Members of the community from all age ranges as well as representatives from various organizations including Plant.Grow.Fly. at Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium were present. The members of the Jasper County Master Gardeners led the planting and were able to teach younger volunteers how to properly plant. Not only did volunteers work to put plants into the soil, but there were also educational opportunities. The importance of native plants and pollinators was discussed, and we even had a few live Monarch caterpillars and butterflies! Of course, we had information about the rest of the Inspiration Garden up as well. We were able to make a difference in the community, educate the volunteers, and meet so many great people. All in all, it was a truly amazing day.
Wednesday was spent in Newton at the Marion County Fairgrounds, helping with static project check-outs. In the morning Jake was able to run the Bucket of Flower sales and pick-up, and in the evening I got to watch the parade of champions, Senior and Clover Kid Graduate Recognition, and the Bucket of Junk auction. Thursday was spent in the Jasper county office catching up on things that we had missed while we were at the fairs, and because we worked over the weekend we got Friday off. So many memories were made this week, and we want to say a huge thank you to everybody who worked to make it all possible.
That’s it for me, have a great weekend! -Kaylee