The Eastlake FFA Chapter 1561 has been busy this school year, conducting numerous projects, gaining hands-on experience, preparing for and competing in contests.
The Eastlake group competed in their first competition in November and is now preparing for more this spring. They will be studying and forming teams for different events, such as vet, agronomy, entomology, nursery landscape, cotton judging and horse judging.
The organization at Eastlake and at schools across the region, state and nation develops future generations of farmers, geneticists, veterinarians, animal welfare activists, and many more occupations in the agriculture industry.
Last semester, students in the Eastlake FFA worked on cultivating plants such as jalapenos, tomatoes, corn, rosemary, and basil in the green house at the school. They also have helped in the care of service dogs and other animals, including cats, rabbits, birds, pigs, and goats.
Sometimes that care went beyond daily upkeep of the animals. Two of the service dogs were injured by another dog and it was up to the FFA members to clean the wounds and apply the proper medication to prevent an infection from developing. The service dogs have helped the students learn hands-on what it takes to properly care for an injured animal and learn the techniques used to restrain, carry and identify any problems.
In addition, one of the FFA members brought in three goats for students to care for and study. The FFA group has a rabbit by the name of Patient, which is the class pet and is used to study its anatomy and its way of life.
Other animals that the students care for are young pigs that are about three months old; a German Shepard by the name of Luna, which is currently being trained to be an indoor dog; and Rusty, the cross country dog, which students care for until his owner finishes teaching.
The Eastlake FFA chapter will continue with the many projects and learning they have planned for the year and will continue fundraising help pay for upcoming trips. One goal is to raise enough money to attend a national FFA conference this summer.
The FFA teaches students to embrace the life of agriculture and all that comes with it and other life skills and values such as leadership, companionship, and brotherhood.