Improving agricultural literacy in the classroom is no easy task, especially when students come to school armed with the knowledge that they get their food in the supermarket. Yet nine teachers from across the country have been recognized for their work in this challenging endeavor. Each teacher recognized will receive a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Loveland, Colo., in June.
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture program works through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education, which sponsors the scholarships in cooperation with the AFB Women's Leadership Committee.
This year's recipients are: Ellen Altdoerffer, Conestoga Elementary School, Conestoga, Pa.; Jennifer Bates, Clyde Riggs Elementary, Portland, Tenn.; Carl Erbsen, Eastland Elementary School, Lanark, Ill.; Sarah Glenn, Huntsville Intermediate School, Huntsville, Ark.; Lola Knutson, Wahpeton Public Schools—Central Elementary, Wahpeton, N.D.; Dohnia Owens Galloway, St. John's Elementary, Darlington, S.C.; Erik Wade, Hope Elementary School, Hope, Maine; Rebecca Whitmer, Keystone Heights Jr.-Sr. High School, Keystone Heights, Fla.; and Bridget Young, Alcoa Elementary, Alcoa, Tenn.
"We're pleased to honor nine outstanding teachers this year, with scholarships to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference," said Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky farmer, chair of the AFB Women's Leadership Committee and a Foundation board member. "Attendees consistently describe this conference as valuable for educators, which is why we're pleased to provide the opportunity to attend to so many deserving teachers."
Several hundred teachers typically attend the conference, to explore incorporating real-life agricultural applications into language arts, math, nutrition, science and social studies lessons. Scholarship recipients were judged on past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture as well as future plans to implement information gained at the AITC conference in their own classrooms and share the information with other teachers.
The AITC conference brings together a diverse group of organizations and speakers to address how to improve agricultural education and literacy, showcase successful programs and offer educational materials. The Agriculture Department coordinates the AITC program with the goal of helping students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society.