The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood students get special visitors


June 1, 2019

Tom La Venture/Daily Globe

Ethan Gallo, 10, holds a duck as he watches a lamb stand to grab its leash off the trailer on Friday on the lawn of Luther L Wright K-12 School. He is one of several 4-H students who brought their project animals from two area hobby farms to introduce kids to the animals.


Ironwood - After a year of hard work, members of the Gogebic County 4-H showcase their animal projects to the elementary students of Luther L Wright K-12 School on Friday.

The fifth annual Ironwood Schools 4-H farm animal exhibit on the front lawn of the school is so the students can show their peers what they've been working on all year, said Ashley Dennis, the area 4-H program coordinator for Michigan State University-Extension. The event is a preview ahead of the Gogebic County Fair in August where the students will show the animals, she said.

"They work all summer long on this project," Dennis said. "You can't just show up the day it's shown."

Dennis also teaches an in-school 4-H program for second and fifth-graders, and the animal event The even also helps to wrap-up the school year with something fun for the students, she said.

There are not many livestock or dairy farms in the area and so the event shows kids the steers so they know where their meat comes from, along with dairy cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits, she said. The 4-H members let the students pet and groom their animals as they tell them about caring for them, she said.

"The students can see how they grow and see what nutrition they need."

Adam Newberry, 20, is a nine-year member of 4-H who is in his final year of eligibility. He said enjoys helping out every year for the school showing. He brought a Flemish Giant breed of rabbit for the kids to pet along with his new projects.

"I am raising chickens and turkeys this year," Newberry said.

Madison Sterbenz, 13, is in her first year of 4-H, but has been showing pigs for the past three years. She doesn't live on a farm herself and so she keeps the pigs at an area hobby farm where she cares for them and even taught the pigs to come when their names are called.

"I enjoy working with all the animals," Sterbenz said. "I like bigger animals."

Sterbenz said she enjoys being outside with animals but that 4-H is so much more than agriculture and livestock. There are shooting ranges, gardening, babysitting, crafts and even a robotics club, she said.

Kay Lustgarten, a substitute for Stephanie Justinak's first-grade class, said 4-H is very beneficial for the children. She selected books on rabbits, the first animal the students saw outside, so they could read more about it after the first-hand experience.

"What they are doing is having an experience with the farm animals, and along with petting them they are finding out how they live and what they eat," Lustgarden said. "I think it's wonderful. They are very into this."

Kylee Lantta, 12, is also in her first year of 4-H. Her project is to help raise lambs at an area hobby farm. She said she learned that lambs can't be exposed to copper and so all the sheep buckets, containers and food bins are kept separate from the other animals, she said.

"I've always had an interest in animals," Kylee said. "I care for them and it's just fun learning more about them and what they can and can't do."

For more information on 4-H, contact Dennis at 906-663-4045 or email


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