For the final evening session of the Summer Ag Institute, Rhodora would be in Nebraska for an Ag Literacy Coordinators’ Conference. What did this mean? Rhodora’s high school intern, Kelsey and I would be in charge tonight! We mostly were there to make sure everything went smoothly and according to schedule, as well as to set up and take down the session.
Karen Schmitt from the Midwest Dairy Association discussed the importance of dairy nutrition for children and of sharing teaching resources. Following Schmitt’s presentation, Luke Allen from Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education presented an engaging workshop in which teachers were able to make homemade cheese and learn about the steps involved in getting Fritos from corn to store.
The teachers still have much to look forward to during June sessions of the SAI. They will have the opportunity to travel to local ag sites such as Jamie Walter’s grain farm and Tate and Lyle’s food ingredient facility. They will also travel outside of DeKalb County to tour Pearl Valley Eggs and Hunter Haven Farms in northwestern Illinois.
Recent budget cuts in many school districts have eliminated field trips, including popular trips to apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and dairy farms. As a result, teachers are seeking other ways to incorporate ag in the classroom. During the Institute they will discover the many different agricultural literacy kits that DeKalb County Farm Bureau has available for loan throughout the year, free of charge. Additionally, while listening to different presenters and traveling to area farms and agribusinesses, they will be able to gain new knowledge and first-hand experience that they can share with their students.