The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has recognized the outstanding agricultural literacy efforts of educators and communities across the country with a total of $25,000 in scholarships and grants to build on their work to connect students with how their food is grown.
The foundation, through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education, sponsors the scholarships and grants in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. The fund honors two former committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were trailblazers in early national efforts to expand the outreach of agricultural education and improve agricultural literacy.
“These teachers and volunteers are inspiring students to understand where their food comes from and how they can be part of innovative solutions to keep agriculture sustainable for generations to come,” said Daniel Meloy, executive director of the foundation.
The foundation awarded 10 teachers and classroom volunteers with $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 23 to 26.
This year’s recipients are: Leah Slaughter, Lake Weston Elementary School, Orlando, Florida; Jenna Stevens, Clinton County Ag in the Classroom, DeWitt, Iowa; Nancy Smith, Bentwood Elementary, Olathe, Kansas; Audrey Varney, Maine Cooperative Extension Maine 4-H/University of Maine Farmington, Turner, Maine; Christopher Arrington, Marion Public Schools, Marion, Michigan; Karrie Newton, Northern Granville Middle School, Bullock, North Carolina; Matthew Koth, Highland Elementary School, Omaha, Nebraska; Brianne Willson, Camden Middle School, Ava, New York; Debra Nelson, Bottineau High School, Bottineau, North Dakota; and Melissa Shirk, Philadelphia Elementary, Loudon, Tennessee.
The conference helps educators from across the nation learn how to incorporate real-life agricultural applications into science, social studies, language arts, math, and nutrition lessons. Scholarship recipients were judged on their past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture as well as plans to implement information gained at the NAITC conference in their own lesson plans and share the information with other teachers and volunteer educators.
The Foundation also awarded 10 communities with $1,000 grants, which will be allocated through county Farm Bureaus this spring and used to create new agricultural literacy projects or expand existing agricultural literacy efforts. Criteria for selecting winners included: the effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how successfully the project enhances learner engagement in today’s food, fiber and fuel systems; and the processes and timelines for accomplishing project goals.
The 2020 spring grant recipients are: Kent County Farm Bureau, Delaware; Banks County Farm Bureau, Georgia; Barrow County Farm Bureau, Georgia; Douglas County Farm Bureau, Georgia; Hall County Farm Bureau, Georgia; Franklin County Farm Bureau, Illinois; McLean County Farm Bureau, Illinois; Randolph County Farm Bureau, Indiana; Washington Farm Bureau, Tennessee; and Moore County Farm Bureau, Texas.