Summer Learning Impacts Educators
“Have you ever, over a period of years, wanted to learn about something and not know how to go about it? That’s what this was for me. We were not a few minutes into the first presentation when I said to myself, ‘You are going to love this!’ And I did!!!” shared CPS teacher, Jill Dahl.
This was one of many quotes from teachers who attended our Summer Ag Academy the week of June 24-27th. Spending four days together on the road afforded teachers the opportunity to learn from farmers, from industry specialists and from each other. The generosity of the ag community always shines through during the program as farms and businesses open their doors to teach others why they do what they do and how they approach their livelihood, which often involves all family members. What a pleasure it was to visit a farm and have one, two, or three generations eager to show off their crops, animals or greenhouses.
This year’s program began at the Cook County Farm Bureau where Luke Allen, FCAE Program Advisor, taught lessons connecting ag careers, ag economics and ag science concepts. Nutrients for Life Educator, Haley Siergiej, demonstrated soil and nutrient lessons and provided more free curriculum resources. Horticulturist, Greg Stack, rounded out a day of learning with his presentation on using plants in the classroom which tested participants on their knowledge of what plants grow specific food items. Teachers appreciated Greg’s reference to horticulture being both an art and a science.
The remainder of the week took teachers on the bus to head to Bloomington and back to see a snapshot of what makes up Illinois farming. Stops included: Janie’s Farm, The Mill at Janie’s Farm, Kilgus Farmstead, Prairie Central Co Op (Chenoa Grain Elevator), Mackinaw Winery, IL AITC, Finding Eminence Farm, the McLean County Farm Bureau and Birkey’s Implements, Smits Farm and the Chicago High School for Ag Sciences.
The program would not be possible without the donations of our members to the Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation and grant support from Illinois Ag in the Classroom. Thank you to all the teachers who joined us this year (and those on our waiting list who we hope to see next time). Registration for 2020 opens January 15th https://cookcfb.org/ag-literacy-and-education/teacher-resources .
Who best to sum up the experience but with quotes from the participants themselves?
“I can’t believe how much I didn’t know about agriculture.”
“This program had a profound impact on how I now look at agriculture in our world.”
“Agriculture is science and you can implement all subjects with this content, this course makes learning fun and your students will benefit.”
“I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this course! It really opens your eyes to the diversity within agriculture-not only regarding farm size and plant/crop variety but also the myriad of other careers that connect to agriculture such as business management, engineering, soil science and transportation.”
“I learned so much and cannot wait to teach other colleagues and my students about it.”