FORSYTH, Mo. – The Forsyth School District will be using 52-acres originally donated by the Herschend family nearly ten years ago to develop farmland to expand its agriculture program.
Earlier this week, the Forsyth Board of Aldermen approved an exception to the prohibition of the Livestock in the City Law to allow for the development of this property, which will also include the development of additional walking trails for public use.
“We were looking for an opportunity to expand the learning of our kids in the Ag program,” said Dr. Jeff Mingus, the superintendent of the Forsyth School District. “This gives us an opportunity for the hands-on experience because now we can take all the content and the knowledge that they’re practicing within the classroom and in their shop. We can take it into a real-world setting, and we can involve horticulture, livestock, glade restoration, wildlife preservation… All these things, and we can do it right here in town and we’re going to make an element also that the community can take part as well.”
The new farm will feature an animal science lab that will include a working farm with livestock, a glade project, a forestry site, and other elements to allow students hands-on experience.
“There’s about eight acres that was at one time native glade, and we’re going to try and restore that into its native state,” said Forsyth agriculture teacher, Clint Gailey.
Gailey and his fellow Forsyth agriculture instructor, Patrick Holt, toured multiple school districts including Hollister, Sparta, and Ozarks to research new ideas for their new outdoor classroom.
“We all have the same goal,” said Gailey. “All these schools are doing an outdoor lab and classroom to make sure these kids can get everything they can get from the high school experience.”
“You always wonder when you’re teaching a kid if they can walk out of that classroom and actually do what you just taught them to do,” said Holt. “Well, we’re going to be able to find out. A lot of what we can do in the educational field is testing, and you know in figuring out if they know what they’re doing or not. This will be the ultimate test.”