Alpacas, sheep, cows, horses and drones expected at Roots of Bruce

Owen Sound Sun Times
By: Denis Langlois
Photo: Courtesy of Owen Sound Sun Times

Photo Caption: Roots of Bruce volunteer and Hanover 4-H Club member Allison Pepper is with Muffin the Alpaca and in the background is Candy Cane the Llama in 2016.

Hundreds of local 10- to 12-year-old students will get a chance to watch sheep-shearing and cow-milking demonstrations, climb inside a combine, hear from a veterinarian and see alpacas, pigs and horses close up at Roots of Bruce in early April.

New at this year's event – which educates children about agriculture and food production in Bruce County – will be a learning station called “Technology in Agricultural,” at which students will learn about the use of drones and GPS systems on farms.

“We're really excited about that station,” event chair Monica Zettel said Thursday in an interview.

This will be the 23rd year for Roots of Bruce.

It is set to take place April 6 and 7 from 9:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the agricultural society buildings in Walkerton.

The event is open to Grade 5 and 6 students from Bluewater District School Board and Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board schools as well as home-schooled children from Grey-Bruce.

Zettel said 300 students per day can attend. There isn't anymore room for classes to sign up for the Friday of the event, she said, but there are spots available for a class or two on the Thursday. The cost is $5 per student.

The volunteer-run Roots of Bruce project started in 1995 and has been held each spring since. More than 20,000 students have participated over the years.

Teachers and parents used to register their students and children for half-day experiences, but only full-day participation is available this year, Zettel said.

“A few years ago, some of the teachers were saying, why can't we come for the full day? With the busing and that it makes more sense to stay all day,” she said.

“So a few schools tried it the last couple years and this year we said it's working well and the teachers are in favour of it, so only full-day this year.”

Kids will have 45 minutes for a lunch break.

The theme of this year's Roots of Bruce is 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture – since it is the 150th anniversary of both Canada and Bruce County.

Exhibitors have been asked to chat a bit about the changes in technology over the past 150 years, Zettel said.

Twenty stations will be set up for the event, which aims to create awareness of the importance of the local agricultural community, food production and other industries connected to agriculture.

“The kids come away with all kinds of information on what it takes to raise animals and grow crops and get it out to market,” Zettel said.

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