College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
AGNR Research

Service and Research Come Together on the Farm

College Park Scholars spend Service Day at agricultural research facility in Upper Marlboro
College Park Scholars students harvest eggplant at Upper Marlboro research facility for Service Day 2014.
Photo Credit: 
Lauren Castellana, Edwin Remsberg Inc.

It’s not a bad way to jump start your four years as a University of Maryland Terrapin: harvesting vegetables like zucchini, summer squash and eggplant, tasting Pinot Gris grapes directly from the vine, mulching an herb garden beneath a clear blue summer sky with a backdrop of rolling hills and sunflowers.

This was hardly a day of leisure, however, for approximately 80 students in the College Park Scholars program who traveled to the University of Maryland’s research facility in Upper Marlboro as part of the annual Scholars Service Day on August 28th. There was plenty of work to be done including pulling weeds in the orchard, picking grapes in the vineyard and preparing row beds for fall planting at Terp Farm – the university’s new sustainable vegetable farm that will help provide produce in campus dining halls and to community food banks this semester.

“What they are helping with right now would be a whole day’s work for me,” said Guy Kilpatrick, Terp Farm’s lead agricultural technician, pointing to a group of Scholars students thinning out seedlings of arugula to make way for fall crops.

This is the fourth year the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has hosted scholars at the Upper Marlboro facility for Service Day. While researchers with ongoing projects at the farm benefit from a few hours of free labor provided by the students, the incoming freshmen also get an opportunity to learn about agriculture and to spend time on a farm – a first for many.

“I play Farmville,” laughed freshman Nora Alshareef from Germantown, Md. as she helped clear out weeds in the meadow orchard. “That’s about the extent of my experience with farming.”

AGNR faculty members are happy to share their knowledge with the students while they labor in the fields. A group assigned to work in the vineyard learned to discern between Chardonels, Vignoles and Pinot Gris grapes and were encouraged to sample as they went along. The grapes they harvested will be made into wine and evaluated by experts within the College of AGNR.

“I really enjoy picking and tasting,” said Emily Goo from Rockville, Md. “It’s fun and an experience I probably wouldn’t have had outside of this.”

To see more scholars in action on the farm, visit our 2014 Scholars Service Day photo gallery.

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