Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion
Horses and more
One of the benefits of being an Ag Literacy Coordinator is reaching new audiences to share the message of agriculture in the classroom. While we reach an amazing number of students in classrooms throughout Cook County, we also are given the opportunity to go beyond the school walls. One of these programs occurred last month at Kopping Stables in Lemont, IL. Kopping is the host site of a Holistic Riding Equestrian Therapy Program run by Ms. Marlene Karman. Her programs are focused on the special needs community, including students from a local high school. What a joy it was to be asked to provide supplemental education to these students about agriculture and its connection to horses, cattle, food, and much more. The hands-on learning aspect of agriculture made an immediate impact on these special needs students. Ag education has a tendency to do that.
This was one of many “custom” programs that we’ve been lucky enough to be asked to do this year. Others have included visiting a pre-school who had wrapped up a study of chickens and corn, a middle school who wanted to understand more about where food came from as part of their food drive efforts, several middle schools who wanted to their students to understand the vast opportunities in agriculture careers and a high school Global Geography class who were curious about modern agriculture and its use of technology. It has been an interesting year and it’s only June! The programs will continue this summer with some Sheriff’s Department camp visits, teacher education programs called Summer Ag Institutes and a host of summer library visits. We welcome new partnerships that can help us reach others through ag literacy and this has certainly been happening this year. While all visits can’t be on horse farms, all can be just as rewarding.