Close Encounters With Agriculture
The most important educational activity the MSCD does during the year is Close Encounters with Agriculture. This three-week program involves about 2,500 fourth grade students from across the County and represents a comprehensive agriculture experience for these young people. Close Encounters is done in cooperation with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension - Montgomery County and other agricultural agencies and groups.
October 4, 6, 7
Many young people today are unaware of the benefits agriculture provides and of their responsibility to be good stewards of the land. Close Encounters with Agriculture provides a rare opportunity for these students to enjoy a hands-on learning experience, which can really have an impact on their lives. The children go home and teach their parents about the things they learned, increasing the benefits of the program even further. MSCD coordinates the Environmental track of the Close Encounters program, which includes Soils, Aquatics, Wildlife Habitat, Watershed Conservation, and other areas.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Close Encounters with Agriculture program went a very different route than we have ever done before. The Close Encounters team of volunteers created a virtual program for the 2020 schoolyear, and we were able to even expand on some of our normal subjects in the videos due to the different medium. The full slate of 2020 videos is available on YouTube at the UME - Montgomery County channel here.
Below are the three videos the Soil Conservation District staff volunteered their time and knowledge to help create: The Earth Beneath Our Feet (the Soils Station), Wildlife Habitat: Key to a Healthy Ecosystem (Wildlife Habitat Station), and the Stream Life Station.