SUNNYSIDE — Amber Burnett’s enthusiastic passion for teaching agriculture to kids of all ages continues to inspire those she touched for bringing to life her meaningful farming lessons, which radiated into United Methodist’s preschool classroom last Friday.
Burnett, a former Sunnyside High School FFA instructor and advisor, made an instant impact on her students and parents that still radiates brightly with lower valley importance.
“She was one of those teachers that had a magnetic personality and a special way to reach those kids,” Elizabeth Osborn described. “And, this was something she wanted to do — her goal was to reach out to the little ones and get them excited about animals, 4H and FFA.”
The interactive agricultural program was supported through the efforts of Grandview 4H and FFA, and J & K Dairy to help show the children that it’s okay to get their hands deep in the rich soil and experience what agriculture is about by planting seeds in cups to see how they grow.
“We’re teaching them how important it is to be a farmer and how we couldn’t live without them,” Preschool Teacher Mary Schlenker explained. “They’re important people who help us every day, and they work harder than anybody we know!”
The hands-on program also featured a petting zoo of farm animals; including a heifer calf named “Henry,” who was born early that morning, a couple of chickens and ducks, a rabbit named “Mini Rex” and “Ginnie” a guinea pig, along with a John Deere tractor.
“This is fun. And, they like the animals. So, now they get to see a cow and actually pet one,” former Sunnyside High School FFA student Amariah Osborn stated as she recalled how Burnett influence has guided her academic pursuits.
“I think it’s exciting for them to learn about the importance of agriculture in our world and the animals, and how they play a part too.”
For many of the kids, who live in the cities of Prosser, Grandview and Sunnyside, this is the first time they get to see a farm animal from their point of view.
One of the goals of this program was teaching kids about caring for other people and what they do. Miss Mary sought her classroom’s input regarding if they were having fun.
At first, she didn’t hear them that clearly. But on their second try, they loudly voiced in resonating harmony, “Yeah,” which woke up Henry who was outside sleeping after a morning of farm life excitement.
Preschoolers Rebekah Wise and Asher Hazzard, who has helped his grandfather feed cows hay, were asked, “Would you like to have a cow?” The youngsters replied, “Yeah!”
A follow-up question was posed, “What would you do with a cow?”
Rebekah reflected for a moment, and then answered, “I would feed him an apple!”
Asher responded straight from the hip, “Ride it!”