Ag in the Classroom program teacher mini-grants awarded

Wisconsin State Farmer
A dozen teachers across Wisconsin will use mini-grants to help supplement their ag in the classroom efforts.

Madison — The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program has awarded 12 teacher mini-grants to teachers to use in agricultural literacy lessons and activities. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation funded the grants. The grants provide opportunities for teachers to obtain funding that may not be available through their local school budgets.

The following teachers were awarded $100 grants that will be used this school year:

3 Sisters Garden Table Project — Tim Olson and Lisa Wasson, Houlton Elementary, St. Croix County

Fourth grade students are part of a garden project planting corn, bean and squash seeds for the 3 Sisters Garden. Working with the high school shop class, the table built would be used for their seeds as they learn about Native American farming societies. While helping design the table, the students will learn about the basic requirements needed for seed germination and plant growth.

Ag Processing Unit — Jeanna James and Loghan Hallett, Chippewa Falls Middle School, Chippewa County

Using soybean science kit lessons demonstrating the changes to a non-food product during processing, the students will use supplies necessary to conduct the lessons. Students will be creating marbleized paper and making lip balm, hand cream, candles and crayons. These lessons will be conducted in each of the sixth grade class rotations in the exploring agriculture class.

Farming on the Go — Cheri Oglesby, St. Rose Catholic School, Grant County

A farm take-home kit consisting of farm items, puzzles, puppets and CD, coloring pages and non-fiction books will allow students and their families opportunities to learn about farming and enjoy farm activities together. Students will be able to check out the kit twice a school year, once each semester for three days, and can share it with their family.

Gardening Tool Shelving Project — Mary Wicker and Dan Rock, Houlton Elementary, St. Croix County

Students will learn about gardening tools and their purpose as they help to design and build a gardening tool shelf for their greenhouse. As the students make choices on the design and work with high school students who will build the shelves, they will learn the concept of community and learning how to work together.

Greenhouse Table Project — JoAnn Augustin and Heather Bohl, Houlton Elementary, St. Croix County

This project of designing a table for the school’s greenhouse will help students learn about interactions within environmental systems and how they affect the survival and quality of life for all living things. Working cooperatively with each other, fifth grade students will design the table for plant germination and growth and then communicate the plan to the high school students building the table.

Growing Plants from Seed — John Slipek, Abbotsford High School, Clark County

Working with second grade students over eight weeks, the agriculture education instructor will assist elementary classes as they use the high school greenhouse. Students will see first-hand how plants grow from seed, learn the principles of growing plants and have the satisfaction of growing a marketable product themselves.

Nutrition Services Greenhouse Project — Kristie Faust, Houlton School, St. Croix County

Working closely with a Master Gardener, the Nutrition Services Manager will identify specific gardens for each grade level and then work with students as they learn about those crops. Students will see the complete process after growing vegetables and then eating them in school lunch. The grant will be used in designing the storage for the produce in the kitchen.

Outdoor Education-Orienteering — Kimberly Houser, Wisconsin Heights High School, Dane County

Compass reading will be added to the wildlife management class and the orienteering unit. The compasses will be used for student learning and for the Food For America program’s hands-on natural resources station. It will allow students to develop navigational skills and not rely on Google Maps and GPS when they are outdoors.

Planting Table and Work Table Project — Patrick Sahli, Houlton Elementary, St. Croix County

Second grade students will learn how plants grow and change. They will use the tables as they germinate seeds and transplant them. They will make a visual display to show how things grow and change, the need for water and sunlight and how the tables’ design will affect the success of their seeds and plants.

Pumpkin Seed Project — Lisa Persinger and Natalie Thorson, Houlton Elementary, St. Croix County

By giving kindergarten students an opportunity to plant pumpkin seeds, the students will learn about the growing process and where their pumpkins come from. They will learn about basic plant needs including light, water and temperatures as they germinate the seeds and use the greenhouse tables to watch the plants grow.

Rural Life Reads! — Kirstin Thompson, Greenfield Elementary, St. Croix County

Fifth grade students are expected to research rural life skills, conduct interviews of community members, design a three-dimensional model related to an agricultural topic, and build their speaking skills by doing a presentation to the class on a rural topic. The grant will be used to purchase resource books that can be used along with online research so the students can have a variety of sources.

Visit from Author Lisl Detlefsen — Livia Doyle, Mineral Point Elementary, Iowa County

Mineral Point Elementary School will host Time for Cranberries author Lisl Detlefsen to their school for presentations including a book reading, sharing her experiences of growing up on a cranberry marsh and information about Wisconsin’s state fruit and how she wrote the book. The grant will be used to help cover the expenses of having the author travel and presenting to the students.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program also has matching grants available to groups and organizations that conduct agricultural literacy projects. Applications are due by April 1 and can be downloaded at or by contacting Darlene Arneson at 608-828-5644 or

Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program provides teachers and students K-12 with an understanding of how their food is produced. The program seeks to work within existing curricula to provide basic information on our nation's largest industry: agriculture. Wisconsin’s Ag in the Classroom program is carried out by a network of local educators, volunteers and representatives from agricultural organizations and businesses. The goal of the program is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies.