Five Questions for Diane Merrion, Director of Ag Literacy
- What is a memory stamped into your mind from your work with Cook County Farm Bureau?
One of the unforgettable moments over the years was the “soybean” incident at Ag Day North at Wagner Farm. We had a sensory table filled with soybeans as part of the learning station. One of the students stuck his whole head in the bin and subsequently ended up with a soybean stuck in his ear. Just when you think you’ve considered every scenario before an educational event this was not one that came to mind. Wagner Farm helped follow protocol and later that evening we were informed that all was fine. I do not believe we had an unattended or quite so accessible sensory table in subsequent years.
- What is the funniest thing you've ever heard come out of a student’s mouth?
Over the years we have had many, many comments from students. While they ask funny questions, it’s their sincerity and honesty that cannot be beat. So many fun quotes like a child who said his mom is making oils, but kids cannot have them. One we recently received (that Jill loved) shared this after a school presentation, “It was very detailed but not too much so we could remember it, plus, I think it was kid friendly.” Our all-time favorite must be, “So what happened to the pig?” after learning where bacon came from.
- When you are not working on CCFB business, what is something you like to spend time doing?
I enjoy traveling with my husband Dave and we were fortunate to still travel last year within the U.S. and intend to have more adventures this year. (Photo from our last overseas visit.)
My other main hobby is gardening, and I am optimistic of having more time, more child helpers, and greater success with that this summer.
- What is your favorite Ag book?
My favorite Ag book has to be The Gardener by Sarah Stewart.
- What did you want to be growing up?
I always wanted to be a teacher. I used to “teach” to my pretend class from an early age in my bedroom and knew that was my calling. Ironically, my favorite grade while student teaching was 4th grade and to go full circle to today when I would be able to lead a program that is targeted to 4th grade, is remarkable.