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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI students learn about farm animals from high school students
Students training animals for livestock show on May 4th

KINGSTON, R.I.-- May 2, 2002 -- University of Rhode Island students are generally taught by professors and teacher’s assistants. But students in Katherine Petersson’s animal science class are involved in a different learning experience. They are being taught by hiKatherine Peterssongh school students.

Each year, students enrolled in Petersson’s course work at Peckham Farm training cows, shearing sheep and hatching chicks. The animals are provided by Pam Jeffrey at Cotterell Farms in South Kingstown, who offered to help teach the first class.

"The students have the difficult job of training these animals. So for the first class, I asked the older kids in my 4-H group to help out," said Jeffrey. "I was a little worried about how the URI students and the 4-H kids would interact but it worked out wonderfully."

Since the cows are given to the University untrained, Jeffrey singled out her nephews Caleb Cotterell and Peter Broda to help the students at Peckham Farm. Both have been involved in the URI 4-H Program for many years.

"It’s a lot of work to train a cow. It’s also a lot of fun. But to do it right, you have to put in a lot of intense work. With the boys there to help, some of the initial anxiety was calmed," said Jeffrey.

"It’s a unique experience. These boys have been around these farm animals their whole lives," said Petersson. "The boys have opened the URI students’ eyes to their own expertise and comfort level around cows."

The students are responsible for training the cows in time for the annual livestock show to take place on May 4 at Peckham Farm. The students will showcase the animals that they spent the semester training.

"All of the hard work pays off at the show. These are stubborn animals and it takes a lot of hard work and creativity to get the cows to do what you want them to do," said Petersson. "At the beginning of the six weeks, the cows are naive. The students teach them everything they know."

"It’s scary to be responsible for these animals. The URI students responded great to fifteen year olds saying, ‘No sweat, we can do this’. Having the 4-H students there to help the URI students proved to be an incredible success," said Jeffrey. "It was a learning experience for both."

For Information: Todd McLeish, 874-7892, Sarah Emmett, 874-2116

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