Williamsport to PSU by way of Clearfield

730 am found us at Williamsport HS in PA. Nicole, the very welcoming, warm AgEd instructor there greeted us and gave us a tour of the FFA chapter greenhouse as the film screened for a class of 25 or so. The greenhouse, filled with seedlings, is yet another example of an FFA chapter that generates revenue to support itself. Makes sense. 

Chris was stuck in traffic, but got there in time for the post-screening conversation. It was a good conversation, one that took a surprising turn when the subject of fracking came up. Fracking is a process of extracting gas from the ground. Many critics of the process point out that it leads to a contaminated water source, or that in some places, it is claimed to have caused earthquakes. On the flip side, it provides a domestic energy source, and a few of the students in the class were there because their parents worked in town with the gas companies fracking the area. 

We were amazed to hear that some folks were getting 250K per month of royalties from the profits of the wells on their land. This sudden boom has changed a lot of the area, an economic jolt, and a burden on the police station, too. The recent moratorium on fracking in NY state shows how government policy can totally shift the economics of a region, and the environmental health. In the classroom, there were mixed emotions about fracking. One thought that was shared, is that we have had a mindset of take, take, take from the Earth, and we need to shift to a mindset of restorative cycles. 

We drove to Clearfield where we met w/ Ms Carr and about 40 students over two periods. Students seemed a bit distracted, although a few perked up when talking about a desire to go into veterinary medicine. 

 We had a great meal at Ottos, then took a break before the evening screening at Penn State, where about 85 folks joined us. There was a good conversation, a back-and-forth between Brian Snyder of PASA and Prof. John Comerford of PSU's agriculture department. The conversation had some different perspectives. Prof. Comerford asked that people question everything they saw in the film, a valid request.

Chris, Andy and I went to Otto's again afterwards, this time for a couple beverages...

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