Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom program awards teacher mini-grants

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

MADISON – Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program has awarded 12 teacher mini-grants to be used for agricultural literacy lessons and activities. The grants, funded by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, 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:

The Great Seed Exchange, Heather Gayton- Creekside Elementary School, Sun Prairie

Students will research the history behind heirloom varieties, take a virtual tour of a seed bank and explore where certain varieties are native to which continents. This program will help students develop global connections through agriculture and become more aware of the interconnectedness of cultures through foods and crops. Funds will be used to purchase seeds, make brochures and for packaging products.

Little Blessings Garden Patch, Kristi Magnuson- St. Aloysius Catholic School, Sauk City

This program will allow students to be engaged in an active learning space within their school garden. Students will observe, discover, experiment, nurture and learn about agriculture. Funds will be used to plant grass seed, purchase a root-view planter buying supplies for flowers, garden tools and a field trip to the Merrimac Community Charter School’s garden. This experience will enhance the children’s connection to the environment, with a goal of fighting childhood obesity by changing eating habits and strengthening attitudes toward learning.

Books and Blankets, Livia Doyle- Mineral Point Elementary School, Mineral Point

The project’s goal is to raise funds to purchase materials to be used in outdoor learning spaces including a wagon, blankets and books centered around topics like insects, plants, birds, trees, gardening, compost, environmental stewardship, animals and weather. Teachers can engage students by allowing them to pull the wagon full of books and blankets into the garden or Oak Savanna, spreading out the blankets, grabbing a book, getting comfortable and learning all about the great outdoors.

Elementary Ag Day, Nathaniel Nolden- Wisconsin Dells High School, Wisconsin Dells

Students enrolled in agri-science class and Wisconsin Dells FFA members will prepare activities and content for 10-15-minute stations. They will invite all the third-grade students in the school district to a half-day Elementary Ag Day. There will be a minimum of 14 stations on various topics related to agriculture in the community and state. Funds will be used to purchase related books, food storage containers and other supplies.

Global Food Security, Katelyn Dei- Slinger High School, Slinger

Students will be utilizing the Hungry Planet books by Peter Menzel to determine what factors create food insecurity and which countries around the world are food insecure. Students will learn about our American agriculture system and how our lives have changed dramatically in the last 100 years due to advancements in our agriculture. Critical thinking will allow students to develop innovative plans to solve the global security issue before 2050. Funds will be used to purchase the books for the project.

Respecting Rural Life! Kirstin Thompson- Greenfield Elementary- Baldwin

In a two-part project, students will be asked to research rural life skills, conduct interviews of rural-life experts, and then design a three-dimensional model related to the topic. With the school district’s emphasis on personalized learning, the grant will help purchase a variety of non-fiction books the students can use in their research. Helping the student’s reading skills and learning how to research will then allow students to have a better understanding and appreciation of our rural history and then develop a plan to carry those rural life skills into the future.

Write Your Way Through Natural Resources, Kirsten Konder- Luck Public Schools, Luck

After studying many areas of natural resources along with environmental issues, students will write a children’s book concentrating on one area. They will explain the issue within the story and show multiple ways to resolve it. The stories will be targeted to a fourth-grade reading level. Students both in high school and elementary school will learn more about natural resources and the challenges we face. The grant will help purchase blank books along with supplies needed for the project.

Yes, Reading is Fun! Lori Rowe- Tigerton High School, Tigerton

To assist the staff members in the district to provide agricultural books for the school, Middle School Book Club and Reading Nights, the grant will be used to buy a variety of agricultural books. Staff have observed that students have lost their interest in reading books for fun, so the new books will provide interesting topics, good illustrations and content that will spark their interest in agriculture and reading.

Patio Gardening; Fresh Food for Families! Amy Mather- Northern Hills School, Onalaska

Students will develop gardening skills and help feed their families while working collaboratively to solve problems related to a cooperative project. They will have increased responsibility and independence related to feeding themselves and their families. The grant will help purchase supplies and then they will learn from Master Gardeners how to plant, care for seedlings and harvest produce.

Seed Germination, John Slipek- Abbotsford High School- Abbotsford

Working with second grade students, the grant will be used to purchase seed, soil and containers for use during this 9-week unit. Each student will be able to plant seeds and monitor growth while observing germination differences, soil temperature, moisture variation, impact of sunlight, growth rate and other factors. The students will also be able to propagate plants using other methods and have plants to take home for Mother’s Day.

Safety on the Farm, Cheri Oglesby- St. Rose Catholic School, Cuba City

Working with the Cuba City FFA Chapter, elementary students will learn about the dangers on a farm and how to protect themselves. The dangers of equipment, chemicals and animals will be covered in a three-week project. The grant will help purchase several student safety books that will be used during the unit. High school students will make posters and lead the discussion and then use a ‘red-green’ game to share the information.

Read About and Make Ice Cream, Sarah Halverson- Black River Falls High School, Black River Falls

Our high school Child Development Class students will create age appropriate lessons for 4K students. The content will be delivered in dairy and ice cream themed stations that are 15 minutes in length. Students will need to include PIES (Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Social) developmental milestones in the lessons they create. The grant will be used to buy several books and an ice cream maker.

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 March 1 and can be downloaded at www.wisagclassroom.org or by contacting Darlene Arneson at 608.828.5644 or darneson@wfbf.com.