Teachers’ academy for ag
BY KAREN SCHWALLER
SPIRIT LAKE – As the Iowa Farm Bureau continues to promote agriculture in the classroom across the state, the Dickinson County Farm Bureau sponsors its Teacher Academy for Ag in the Classroom. This is a brief summer program in its eighth year, which offers teachers one continuing education credit.
Materials are grade-level-oriented, and it features specialists and master teachers who speak on agriculture, including professors from Iowa State University.
“Besides classroom education,” said Carol Hiner, project coordinator, working from her office in Spirit Lake, “they take field trips, such as visiting hog farms, natural prairie areas and dairy farms.
“They learn how to incorporate agriculture into all different subject areas, (including) reading and math.”
Hiner said sample lesson plans are available for teachers at this annual academy.
She said there are usually nine people on the committee which plans this academy, including teachers, Farm Bureau officials, Natural Resources and Conservation Service officials, county naturalists from Dickinson and Emmet counties.
“We try to involve as many community groups as we can as well,” Hiner said, “including soybean growers, corn growers, area cattlemen and pork producers.”
She said many Iowa families are three or four generations away from the family farm. “So it’s important that our educators get this in their realm of thinking – that what’s on the store shelves comes from the farm.”
The Teacher Academy typically receives educators from six to eight counties in Iowa, as well as some from Minnesota. It’s conducted in Dickinson County in June of the year, just after school is out and before educators become disconnected from the classroom for the summer.
Though Hiner can’t say for certain if the Teacher’s Academy will happen this coming summer, she said the feedback from previous sessions has been tremendously positive.
For more information on Ag in the Classroom grant funding, contact local county Farm Bureau offices, or visit www.iowafarmbureau.com.
For more information on the Dickinson County Teacher Academy, contact Hiner at (712) 336-3260.
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