The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation’s Ag in the Classroom program has awarded 18 matching grants to Wisconsin schools and organizations to expand agricultural literacy. The grants, totaling more than $8,300, provide funding for a variety of activities that help students learn about agriculture.
The 18 matching grant recipients are:
June Dairy Month – Children’s Museum of Eau Claire – $500
Children and their grown-ups can snap a picture in the “Milk Mustache” photo booth, experiment with color exploding milk, hear from Wisconsin’s Alice in Dairyland, enjoy cheese and ice cream sundaes, meet dairy farmers and a real cow while celebrating June Dairy Month at the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. Visitors will learn about agriculture, farming, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Visit www.cmec.cc or find the Eau Claire Children’s Museum on Facebook for its full programming schedule.
Hands-On Wisconsin Maple Industry – Sun Prairie High School Agricultural Education – $500
The Sun Prairie High School’s agriculture program is developing a maple syrup production program where students will identify and tap trees, collect sap, learn the evaporation process of making maple syrup and analyze finished product. This hands-on connection to agriculture gives students real-life experiences that they can utilize throughout their lives.
PALS Summer Program – Janesville FFA Alumni – $500
The PALS Summer program provides opportunities for students to explore agricultural careers and basic life skills. The program includes field trips and guest speakers that will come to the Janesville Boys & Girls Club to discuss their careers. Choosing non-traditional agriculture careers, the program will give kids several different options to consider in the field of agriculture and agribusiness.
The Big Red Barn – Story Book Kids – Mosinee – $250
The Mosinee School District’s 4K classroom at StoryBook Kids will use their grant to teach lessons about farm life. Items to be purchased include a wooden barn with animals, books, puzzles, dramatic play clothing and plush animals. Lessons will incorporate vocabulary, science, math, health, dramatic play and sensory play. A community connection is made with a visit from a local, retired dairy farmer who will serve scrambled eggs with ham and cheese.
Need H20 to Help Us Grow – Pineview Elementary School Garden in Reedsburg – $500
Easily accessible running water is needed to help hundreds of students grow fruits and vegetables in 10 raised beds, three tiers of garden space in a project supported by many area organizations.
Interactive Agricultural Center – River Valley School Fair – $500
New to this year’s River Valley School Fair will be an extension of the agricultural educational components offered for elementary age students such as “A Day in the Life of a Farmer” and a craft center. The River Valley School Fair Committee and River Valley FFA in collaboration with the RVSD staff will be offering more events for the students during the hours of the School Fair.
2015 Cows on the Concourse – Cows on the Concourse in Madison – $500
An annual event to kick off June Dairy Month in Dane County, Cows on the Concourse is located just off of Madison’s Capitol Square. This free event for the whole family gives kids and adults the opportunity to get close to cows and calves, enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches and milk and learn from Wisconsin’s dairy farmers. Cows on the Concourse will be held on Saturday, June 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Butterfly Garden – Manz Elementary School in Eau Claire – $500
The Butterfly Garden at Manz Elementary School is a place where students, staff and community members can enjoy a peaceful, reflective place to learn about the lives of butterflies. The garden provides the opportunity for people of all ages to appreciate the outdoors while being surrounded by plants, flowers, birds and butterflies. Students have a place for an outdoor classroom and can participate through hands-on activities in the beautification and upkeep of the garden.
Farm 2 School – Kewaskum Elementary School – $500
The Kewaskum Farm 2 School program provides education which includes “Farmer in the Classroom” lessons, vegetable of the month tastings, school garden planting and harvesting and field trips to local farms. This program enables students to see the value of farming and learn how food gets from the farm to their plates.
Perennial Garden – James Williams Middle School in Rhinelander – $500
For the past two school years, all seventh and eighth grade science students at James Williams Middle School have literally been digging into science through unique hands-on field designed curriculum within their life, earth, physical and environmental science classes. The middle school science teachers teach science topics while designing and implementing an interpretative nature trail located near the school. An extension of the project includes a perennial garden and animal shelters that pollinators will utilize are being made by students. The project’s goal is to educate youth about the importance of pollinators in gardening and farming.
Growin’ Leaders in the Garden – Brodhead FFA – $500
Growin’ Leaders in the Garden! That’s just what students are going to become when they participate in this 21-day summer school course offered by the FFA advisor and her members. From planting to picking, with a few taste tests in-between, students in grades 1-6 will be amazed at how many different ways gardens affect their lives. Planting in the school garden, working in the FFA greenhouse, and taking time to cook in the kitchen are all part of the lesson plans where younger students will be paired with FFA members to experience gardening and all that goes along with it. Grade level appropriate math and reading skills will be the main academic focus of the summer school course, with gardening providing the real life examples.
Fair Ag Tent – Grant County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program- $500
Grant County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee has created an educational, fun and interactive Ag Tent for the Grant County Fair. Attendees can test their knowledge of Wisconsin agriculture and take home a prize. Youth Kids can enjoy arts and crafts, hear a short story, pet a calf, practice milking a cow and enjoy cheese samples.
Hatching Poultry Egg-sperts Resource Library – School for Agricultural & Environmental Studies (SAGES) in Fox Lake – $500
Increasing agricultural awareness in the area of poultry is what students at the School for Agricultural & Environmental Studies (SAGES) will be doing with the books, models and manipulatives in the school’s new Poultry Resource Library. SAGES, a K-8 project-based, public charter school in Fox Lake, recently built a chicken coop on school grounds. With students caring for poultry and collecting eggs, the resource library serves as a tool to “Hatch Poultry Egg-sperts” that can identify problems and determine solutions.
Food for America – Watertown FFA Chapter – $500
The Watertown FFA Chapter’s Food for America Program will immerse fourth grade students in learning about Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. Students will learn about farmers markets, Wisconsin honey, greenhouse management, Wisconsin products, natural resources and have a question and answer session with a farmer.
Chicken Coop and Mini-Barn – Merrimac Community Charter School – $500
Merrimac Community Charter School will be adding a small, solar-powered barnyard this summer. This will be an expansion of the current poultry coop, where they hope to add additional laying hens and sheep. An objective of the project is to expand opportunities for students to work with agriculture in frequent, tangible ways. This expansion is also supported by the Merrimac Home and School Club, the Merrimac Village Board, and numerous community partners.
Making Cereal – Grant County Farm Bureau/Vesperman Farms – $500
Grant County Farm Bureau and Vesperman Farms are partnering to create a display showing how whole oats are turned into breakfast oatmeal. The display can be seen at Vesperman Farms during their fall season mid-September through October and at different events through the year hosted by Grant County Farm Bureau.
“We want to show people the connection between that bowl that sits in front of them every morning and field they drive by on their way to work,” said Kyle Vesperman, manager of Vesperman Farms.
Agriculture Learning Tubs – Vernon County Farm Bureau – $199
The Vernon County Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program is designing Agriculture Learning Tubs for Vernon County. These tubs will focus on dairy, beef, hogs, sheep, bees, maple syrup, crops/gardening and Wisconsin fruits. They will feature hands-on learning activities that are ready for use to offer a unique learning experience for a classroom, after-school program, home-school co-op or library program.
“Our goal with the tubs is to make them easy to use by providing the resources that teachers need to pick the tubs up and put them into practice with little prep time,” said Jacqui Davison, Vernon County Ag in the Classroom Coordinator.
Hydroponic Production – Glenwood City Agriculture Education Program – $360.67
The Glenwood City Agriculture Education program with the help of Ag in the Classroom and the FFA Alumni has developed a unique learning experience for students. Students have developed a full-scale hydroponics system in the agriculture classroom and are using it to produce food for the local food pantry. Students have developed an understanding agricultural systems and how food production via hydroponics is facilitated.
Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program provides teachers and K-12 students with an understanding of how their food is produced. The program seeks to work within existing curricula to provide basic information on our nation’s largest industry: agriculture. Wisconsin’s Ag in the Classroom program is carried out by a network of local educators, volunteers and representatives from agricultural organizations and businesses. The goal of the program is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies.
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