26 Hours of Science & Technology in Agriculture

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Contributed by Teagan Ehlers & Breanna Barker | Agriculture Communication | Second years

Students conducting a soil science experiment to test soil pH.

What started as a senior project over 30 years ago continues to draw high school students into life at Cal Poly, specifically the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), today.

“26 Hours of Science and Technology in Agriculture is an opportunity for CAFES to show off the programs we have to area high schools, and we have been doing it for a long time,” said Dr. Robert Flores, a long-term champion of the program.

Soil texture by feel method.

26 Hours of Science and Technology in Agriculture was put on for high school students this past week by the CAFES departments.

Students from high schools 30 or more minutes away from Cal Poly such as Shandon, King City, Gonzales, Greenfield, Salinas, Carpinteria, and Santa Paula, were invited to participate in the 26 Hour program where they learned about different topics in agriculture. Labs included soil science, agriculture communications, horticulture, animal science, and food sensory.

Faculty member Rebecca Graham was involved with the soil science lab titled “Unlocking the Secrets of Soil”, helping advise the Cal Poly students who were conducting the different activities.

Students in soil science labs were able to interact with college students to learn how to measure soil texture by feel,  pH values of a soil with pH strips and, extract Calcium from the soil using different chemicals within the lab. These are all activities that students at Cal Poly learn in their soil science classes, so it was an opportunity for these visitors to have a glance into what college classes are like.

Not only were the visiting students immersed in learning about the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, they were also able to get the feel of what being in college is like. Students who participate in the program get the chance to see what Cal Poly is all about and what it has to offer.

Dr. Flores expressed his love for the program because it reaches out to lower-income students who do not have the opportunities to visit places like Cal Poly.

Flores also expressed how many students who participate in this program decide to attend and graduate from Cal Poly due to the experiences they had with college students and faculty when visiting during the 26-Hour program.

Photos provided by Felipe Vallejo.