EDMONTON — Claudia Bell, a freshman at Metcalfe County High School, and her younger sister, Mary Cate, were in an accident last week when a side-by-side rolled over as they were traveling up a long driveway.
“Just going in a straight line, got off the road, overcorrected a couple times and started flipping,” Bell said. “We cleared a barbed-wire fence and ended up in a field.
“We both woke up, but we came out with concussions, beat up — she’s got a couple fractures in her wrist, and other than that, we’re just sore.
“Could have been a lot worse.”
Bell was able to share her story and talk about safety when she spoke to students from Metcalfe County Middle School during Farm Safety Day on Wednesday at the family farm of MCHS agriculture teacher Lynn Hawkins.
The MCHS freshman said she stressed the importance of wearing a seat belt.
“It saved our life pretty much,” Bell said. “Could have been dead.”
About 350 students rotated around about 40 different stations that focused on various topics such as safety for animal handling, electricity, pesticides, weed eaters, chainsaws and welding. The event also featured live animal exhibits with horses, goats, dairy cows and beef cattle.
“We want to expose the kids of what a working farm looks like, as well as safety hazards that are on and near our homes,” Hawkins said. “Sometimes when they get behind those tractors on the road, just to be cautious of the speed and the equipment that they’re hauling — and just to know where their food comes from.”
The MCHS ag teacher said a lot of area businesses took the time to come out and “support us today.”
“Awesome community," Hawkins said. “Awesome support for our school system, and within the school system, a lot of teachers have collaborated to make this happen.
“It’s a busy time of year for people in agriculture with planting season, and so I really appreciate everybody coming out and helping us. We couldn’t do this without them.”
Hawkins said several MCMS teachers told her that their students have really enjoyed the event, and that she has really enjoyed “seeing the kids interacting with the exhibitors.”
“They’ve got a work packet they’re responsible for, so it’s not just a day out of school,” she said. “It’s an educational day out of school.”
Joey Shive, of Wright Implement in Glasgow, spoke to students about tractor safety, “and the proper way to operate a tractor,” he said.
“The big thing about today is, as you walk around, it’s just so diverse in everything that they’re talking about,” Shive said. “With this particular station, a lot of people aren’t familiar with tractors anymore, and if they have the opportunity (to operate one), maybe something will stick with them and they won’t get hurt on it.”
Blake Parmley, Brian Caswell and Tim Brown, of Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, spoke to the students about safety around fallen power lines.
“We’ve just been trying to tell everybody about electrical safety, and making sure they know how to be safe,” Parmley said.
Caswell added that one of the most important safety tips they told the students is to stay away from downed power lines.
“Make sure they know to stay away from them,” Caswell said. “They’re extremely dangerous.”
Breanna Haskins, a MCMS eighth-grader, said her favorite part about this event was “learning more things about stuff I never knew.” She was able to pet some goats at the station led by Samantha Carter, of S & C Livestock in Elizabethtown.
“I love goats,” Haskins said with a big smile.
Carter said she spoke to the students about how goats can find a way to escape fencing.
“You gotta have really good fence,” Carter said, adding that she also discussed the fact that most goats are raised for meat. “Goat meat is the most consumed meat around the world. It’s one of the biggest facts people don’t know I think.
“Safety-wise, I’ve just been talking about how a big billy goat can ram you, can actually hurt you — because they can be about 200 pounds and big horns come down — so be careful if you don’t know an animal.”
MCHS biology students were also teaching the middle-schoolers about various topics, and Kelly Shaw, an AP Biology teacher, said it was very rewarding to observe her students lead the discussions.
“They are also getting to walk around and experience all of this,” Shaw said. “To me, it’s just a super, hands-on learning experience.”