The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, through the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program, has awarded 15 Teacher Mini-Grants to Wisconsin teachers to use in agricultural literacy lessons and activities. The grants provide opportunities for teachers to obtain funding that may not be available through their local school budgets.
Bret Iverson, River Ridge High School, River Ridge: Awarded $90 for ‘A Walk With Aldo Leopold.’ High School Students will read The Sand County Almanac, complete a paper on the book’s impact on the environmental movement and give an oral summary of their papers. In the spring, they will tour Leopold’s farm and a nearby waterfowl museum.
John Slipek, Abbotsford Elementary School, Abbotsford: Awarded $100 for ‘Greenhouse Gardening!’ Second graders will learn to identify flowers and vegetable seeds, the things needed for proper germination of seeds and the factors related to the successful growing of the plants. This project will give students a chance to visit the greenhouse on a weekly basis and compare how different crops grow.
Cheri Oglesby, St. Rose Catholic School, Cuba City: Awarded $100 for ‘Harvest Soup’. The Pre-K students in this class will plant and grow seeds into vegetables for harvest soup. The goal of this project is to help the students connect the route between farms and gardens to the food they eat. Learning how to grow different vegetables will also allow for a discussion on healthy food choices and balanced meals and how food gets to the grocery store.
Rhonda Badeau, Sunshine Child Center, Gillett: Awarded $100 for ‘From Farm to Table.’ Through participation in this project, preschoolers will obtain a better knowledge of where foods come from other than a grocery store. In addition, preschoolers will be able to identify foods that belong in the fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy and meat food groups. The preschoolers will be aware of the healthy food choices that are available to them through daily and weekly activities.
Karen Williams, Riverside Middle School, Watertown: Awarded $100 for ‘School Garden/Greenhouse.’ The seventh grade science teachers started a school garden a few years ago. In addition to using the produce in science and family and consumer science classes and learning about the many dimensions of gardening, students also collect weather and temperature data. To enhance the experience for students a weather station that will monitor temperature and humidity along with a soil moisture meter and a compost thermometer will be purchased.
Kim Houser, Wisconsin Heights High School, Mazomanie: Awarded $100 for ‘Incubating/Hatching Chickens.’ High school students will learn about the proper methods of raising poultry on a small scale level by raising leg-horn chickens in large animal care class. Students will learn about set-up, candling, keeping records on the incubator, anatomy physiology of chickens as well as the initial needs of chickens. Ultimately, the students will teach more than 200 elementary students about the egg hatching process and the importance to the agricultural industry.
Lisa Bowen, Highland Elementary School, Highland: Awarded $100 for ‘Ag Literacy in the Classroom.’ In an effort to teach fourth graders about the importance of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, books will be purchased and learning activities kits will be generated based on the books. One unit will focus on growing crops and selling the produce as a class fundraiser. In addition, local guest speakers will share personal experiences with the class.
Nicole Siem, Julie Rocco, Amy Bachtell, Plat Elementary School, Colgate: Awarded $100 for ‘Maple Sugar Time.’ Students in first grade learn about maple sugar production each year as part of the science curriculum. They work together to identify sugar maple trees, learn about the history of maple syrup and the process of making maple syrup. By purchasing a tree for the school, students will see a sugar maple tree close up and future students will be able to tap and collect their own sap.
Kristine Gerke, awarded $95.11, Amanda Hillestad, awarded $95.11 and Lindsey Guenther, awarded $100, LaGrange Elementary School, Tomah: for ‘Maple Syrup Production.’ This collaborative project will allow for fourth graders will collaborate with high school students to experience the process of harvesting maple syrup from start to finish. Fourth graders will build their background on the maple syrup industry by reading multiple texts about maple syrup. These books will focus on processing maple syrup today as well as making a connection to collecting maple syrup as a pioneer in Wisconsin.
Teri Eberhardy, StoryBook Kids, Mosinee: Awarded $100 for ‘Things that Go Beep.’ In the 4K classroom, learning comes through play. By introducing farm toys and books, the children will learn to make the connection between farm toys and their food. Students will also create a farm vehicle booklet and associate these vehicles with crop production. The toys and books will help students make the connection between farming and food at the grocery store.
Jennifer Russell, Shullsburg High School, Shullsburg: Awarded $100 for ‘How Did That Get in My Lunchbox Day.’ Using the book “How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food”, high school students will help elementary students explore how food is grown on the farm and how it gets to their lunch box. After completing the story, students will take part in a lunchbox day where they will travel to different stations to learn about various foods from the story.
Glenda Crook, Lodi High School, Lodi: Awarded $100 for ‘Wisconsin Lakes and Fish.’ The National Agriculture Week goals are to conduct activities to develop more environmentally responsible people. This activity will connect high school students and more than 200 elementary school students to learn more about the lakes in the Lodi area and how natural resources and the environment are all part of agriculture.
Stacey Kunde, Brillion Public Schools, Brillion: Awarded $100 for ‘Agriculture Library.’ The goal of this project is to increase the outside classroom reading of agrculturally related materials by Brillion students by providing age appropriate books, guides and how-to books based on the courses offereed in the Brillion High School Agriculture Department. Providing students with course reading from chapter books, guides and how-to’s would increase the variety of literacy strategies used.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program also has matching grants available to groups and organizations that conduct agricultural literacy projects. Applications are due by April 1 and can be downloaded at www.wisagclassroom.org or by contacting Gretchen Kamps at 608.828.5644 or email@example.com.
Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program provides teachers and students K-12 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.