Saturday, 5 August 2017

AgDiscovery 2017 USVI

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We spent week one on the island of St. Croix enjoying the first part of the AgDiscovery summer program at the University of the Virgin Islands. To follow us along the way connect with us @UVICES online via FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Youtube to stay updated. Facebook live videos to be added*

See how 20 students from all over the USA (with a few locals from the Virgin Islands) are getting the experience of a lifetime learning about agriculture and related fields, while rooming in the dorms for two weeks at the AgDiscovery summer program. All happening at the University of the Virgin Islands, Albert A. Sheen, St. Croix campus. 

AgDiscovery is an outreach program to help students learn about careers in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness and plant pathology. To find out more information about this program click on the 2017 AgDiscovery brochure
DAY 1 | Photo Album
Meet & Greet
Along with a few local students, twenty "AgDiscoverers" from as far West as California to North as Seattle took the first afternoon/evening to get acquainted with each other and the staff.

DAY 2 | Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3 | Video 4 | Video 5Photo Album
One sheep, two sheep, from scooping out sheep poop first thing in the morning to checking through ultrasound technology to see if they're pregnant... then collecting/checking their stool and blood samples for parasites and anemia, AgDiscovery campers spent the first day getting to know Agriculture deeper than ever before, from the inside out, literally.

DAY 3 | Video 1 | Photo Album
This Lil Piggy went to Market... as a dish.
This little piggy's going to market... on a plate. After a trip to the Abattoir, AgDiscoverers now know the procedure that pigs endure when being slaughtered at the VI Department of Agriculture. Then after lunch (no pig today), they walked over to the Research and Extension Center to learn horticulture from Dr. Stuart Weiss and went along with him to the greenhouse to learn about sooty mold and other potential hazards to plants. They ended the day making smoothies with 4-H Ambassadors in the CES Kitchen Lab.

DAY 4 | Video 1 | Photo Album
2 'Ponics & an Eggfruit
Water water everywhere, putting it to use. Day 3 was about Hydro and Aquaponics systems. They helped to make and then enjoyed eggfruit smoothies with the 4-H staff in the CES Kitchen Lab.

DAY 5 | Video 1 | Video 2Photo AlbumPlanting Sugar Cane, Sejah Farm & Cruzan Rum Factory
Measuring the field area, Laying out the tubing and Planting sugar cane was how this day started with AgDiscovery campers having hands on setting up a SWEET hydroponics system. Then they visited their first local farm with Yvette and Dale Brown giving them an experience of local plant identification, herding lamb and making fruit smoothies. They got a quick tour of the Cruzan Rum factory before heading back on campus.

DAY 6 | Video 1 | Photo Album
Ridge 2 Reef Certified Organic Farm & Salt River Bay Historic Preserve

AgDiscovery campers took a long, winding, and bumpy trip up the mountain to the only USDA Approved Organic Farm in the USVI, Ridge to Reef Fa rm and spoke with it's Director before heading to the Salt River Bay National Park site for a hike on tribal Taino land and left with jewelry that they made during the visit.

DAY 7 | Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3 | Photo Album
Farmers Market, Whim Museum, Town & Beach
What would learning about local agriculture be like without a trip to the farmers market? A little historical edutainment at the Whim Museum gave the campers a new appreciation for the rich history of the islands and making it to town and the beach before eating on the Boardwalk was an excellent way to wrap up a full day...week!

Stay tuned for week 2 videos, photos, etc. starting with these: 

DAY 8 | Video 1 | Photo Album

AgDiscovery Day 8: Early Morning Sunrise to Sunset on a Beach
AgDiscovery campers took yet another long, winding, and bumpy trip all the way across the island after a 4 am rise to wait for the sunrise at Point Udall, the Eastern most point of the USA.An early morning dip and nap at Cramer's Park beach was followed by brunch at the Blue Water Terrace before they traveled back across the island touring until they arrived at Rainbow beach, where they stayed til sunset.

DAY 9 | Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3 | Video 4Photo Album

AgDiscovery Day 9: Visit to the Department, Diving Cows & Party!The day started with a visit to the VI Department of Agriculture where campers got to tour the grounds (including the mango tree orchard), meet a few of the staff and learn two ways of grafting trees. Next was a trip to see the Senepol cows at Langford farm where the University's Agriculture Experiment Station does their research. The day ended with a cultural night party on campus including a young local steelpan player, mocojumbie dancing and local cuisine.

DAY 10 | Video 1 | Photo Album

AgDiscovery Day 10: APHIS Info, Interviews, 4-H Health Ambassadors & AgRobotics So what exactly IS APHIS*? After a morning of info, jeopardy and interviews with Cheryle L. Blakely and Tami Whyte, AgDiscovery campers can explain it best. Next 4-H Health Ambassadors taught about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast, played who done it and had students running into each other with a game of train wreck. Then they built, programmed and raced agricultural robot plows with Extension Assistant Director Marthious Clavier as they got hands on into the field of AgTech put to use at its best.

DAY 11 | Photo Album

AgDiscovery Day 11: GLG Plants & Produce Farmer Grantley Samuel If you want to learn the best, learn from how the best do it. After a morning with Customs and Border Protection (no photos to share due to CBP policy), the campers went across the street and down the road to visit farmer that has been honored to be the Farmer of the Year mote than once. The learned hands on and through talking with him, how he works, advertises and sells his plants and produce as well as his beekeeping business. They also saw the students in the summer camp run on his farm.
The live videos and photos are shared on the 
UVICES Facebook pageInstagram account and Youtube Channel as well as automatically tweeted out from those platforms as well.

We post using the hashtags #AgDiscovery #USVI along with some others like #YouthInAg #AgCommunications etc.

Watch the interview below as collaborators share their reflections after opening day of the AgDiscovery 2017 Youth Camp held at the University of the Virgin Islands Albert A. Sheen St. Croix campus. Click the photo below to watch the video:

From left to right: Sarah Dahl-Smith, UVI Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Specialist; Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr., UVI Cooperative Extension Service Assistant Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources (St. Thomas-St. John District); Tammy H. Lowry, AgDiscovery Program Manager & Management/Program Analyst (Office of Civil Rights, Diversity, and Inclusion (USDA); Kai Nielsen, Camp Site Coordinator.

The AgDiscovery program was initiated as an APHIS Veterinary Services pilot program in 2002. This year, we have a total of 22 universities hosting an AgDiscovery program at college campuses nationwide.  Funding for AgDiscovery is enabled through cooperative agreements between APHIS and the host universities.AgDiscovery is a summer camp outreach program designed to help middle through high school aged students explore careers in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness, plant pathology, aquaculture, and much more. This 2-4 week program allows participants to live on a college campus, and discover agricultural science from university professors, practicing veterinarians, industry representatives, and professionals working for the U.S. government. Students who participate in AgDiscovery experience hands-on labs, workshops, field trips, and other group and team building activities. For details click here!

eXtending Knowledge; Changing Lives, join us as we share the journey of AgDiscovery with youth in the U.S. Virgin Islands as they prepare themselves to change the world.
DaraMonifah Cooper
, New Media Specialist
UVI Cooperative Extension Service, St. Thomas

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