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Curriculum: Agriculture: Plant and Animal Production [ 119.28(c)]

The Texas Legacy site hosts a variety of educational curricula, lesson plans, keys and ideas, and supporting media, including video, databases, transcripts and other material.  Below you can find the TEKS Agriculture standards for Plant and Animal Production, as described in section 119.28(c)(2, 3 and 4), with relevant activities drawn from this archive.

Goal:  The student seeks to to attain academic skills and knowledge, to acquire knowledge and skills related to food and fiber production and the workplace, and develop knowledge and skills regarding career opportunities, entry requirements, and industry expectations:

  

Excerpts of TEKS Text

TexasLegacy.org  Relevance

Suggested Activities

 

(2)  The student identifies the importance and influence of soils, soil fertility, and soil conservation to society.

 

 

The farmers and ranchers in the TexasLegacy.org archive, whether they are in the Panhandle or the Rio Grande Valley, recognize the importance of soils, and offer helpful experience and insights to students.

 

For insights about soil fertility and its importance, consider the views of the Albany, Oklahoma rancher, Walt Davis, or the thoughts of Austin farmer, Carol Ann Sayle.  As a warning about the consequences of ignoring good soil care, watch the video about Lubbock singer and songwriter Andy Wilkinson's memory of the Dust Bowl.

 

 

(3)  The student knows the importance of plants and their influence on society.

 

 

As one TexasLegacy.org narrator likes to note, all non-plant life on the planet is basically parasitic, hitching a ride on the photosynthetic abilities of plants.  Plants ARE important, and a number of archive narrators give many examples.

 

As we move further into an urban consumer culture (see the segment with San Antonio media expert, Pleas McNeel), we can tend to lose touch with the close underlying connection our society and economy retains with the plant world.  This link was more apparent in past days, when our cities and businesses were more agricultural, and tied more closely to farmlands.  Please watch the interview with Mickey and Bob Burleson to understand how San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin, Waco grew up as market towns to service the great crop lands of the Blackland Prairie.  Or, watch the segment with Marie Killebrew, about early settlement days for ranchers in the Panhandle.

Some of these connections involve the foods, fibers and shelter that plants provide.  Some of these uses are based on wild plants.  As examples, please see Austin economic botanist Scooter Cheatham discuss cactus uses and Rio Grande City horticulturalist Benito Trevino explain mesquite and yucca applications. Some of these important uses are based on domestic crops, whether for cotton in fabrics (see the pieces with Gary Oldham and O'Donnell marketer Larhea Pepper), or fruit to eat (please watch Mission citrus farmer Dennis Holbrook).

We should also be aware of the critical role plants provide in absorbing, harvesting, and  purifying water, both giving us water to drink and protecting us from floods. San Antonio landscape architect Larry DeMartino and Johnson City rancher David Bamberger explain how the grasses of our watersheds, if properly managed, collect and store water.  San Antonio tree advocate, Richard Alles, explains the critical role that tree canopy plays in buffering the city from floods.

As well, it is important that we understand the critical role of plants, and the habitats that they make up, play in supporting wildlife.  San Antonio bird enthusiast Susan Hughes and Austin citizen advocate Mary Arnold talk about the role that plants in a single yard, or vegetation in unspoiled acreage, can play in protecting wildlife.

Finally, it is important to concede our at least partial ignorance about plants' full role in our society, economy and ecology.  San Antonio naturalist Fred Wills gives the example of the juniper, which has been widely bulldozed without clear evidence of its harm.

 

 

(4)  The student knows the importance of animals and their influence on society.

 

 

Whether it is for food, leather, or a host of other materials, or simply for their role in the ecosystem, animals have a crucial role to play in our world, as TexasLegacy.org participants can show.

 

The Texas economy was first built on the backs of livestock, including cattle (please watch Houston attorney Terry O'Rourke's piece on the history of the cow in the Texas landscape), sheep and goats (please see Billy Pat McKinney's video excerpt).  The livestock industry continues to be a mainstay of rural economies and culture, thought its operations are evolving.  Some are turning to grass-based artisan systems (please see the discussions with Canadian rancher Jim Bill Anderson, Nazareth rancher Alan Birkenfeld, Nazareth educator Darryl Birkenfeld, and Fredericksburg cattleman Richard Sechrist). Other operators are turning to industrial feedlot systems (consider the comments from Farnsworth banker Jeanne Gramstorff and Perryton farmer Donnie Dendy).

Wildlife affords a wide variety of ecotourism opportunities, including hunting, fishing, and birdwatching.  Please watch "Our Place in Nature", a half-hour compilation video on ecotourism to get a better sense of this value to wildlife.  To get more detail, please take watch the three following brief videos.  As Comfort private lands advocate, David Langford, explains, it is important to realize how important hunting in particular is for ranchers' income, and many rural communities' economies. Likewise, as Harlingen birder and priest, Father Tom Pincelli points out, birdwatching is another significant source of income for many landowners and towns, while Amarillo birder, Kenneth Seyffert simply enjoys it as a pasttime.  Other enjoy, and will pay for, sportfishing - as Port Mansfield guide Walt Kittelberger explains.

As important as ecotourism is becoming, many animals contribute essential services, and display great beauty, without our even being aware of them.  San Antonio microbiologist, Ruth Lofgren, rejoices in the beauty of microorganisms, while recognizing, with Albany, Oklahoma rancher Walt Davis, the critical role they play as decomposers.

Aside from the products that livestock can provide, or the income that wildlife can give, or even the essential ecological services that microorganisms offer, study of animals can be a great tool to understanding ourselves and our planet better.  As part of the animal kingdom, we share a natural affinity and kinship with wildlife, and can learn a great deal from their evolution, biology and behavior as explained by Dallas teacher, Katherine Goodbar.

Some would say that animals, whether livestock or wildlife, have an importance to us as a responsibility, as a part of our  conscience, or as a duty of stewardship, since their fate often lies in our decisions and behavior.  Rockport naturalist Jesse Grantham explains this feature of animals' importance in our lives.

 

 


 
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2007