Harlan, Iowa – February, 16, 2022 – Many school children in southwest Iowa drive past farm ground on their way to school each day. Do they realize the importance of agriculture in their everyday lives? Twenty-one teachers in the Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom (LHAITC) region have received teacher supplement grants from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) that will help them educate students about agriculture. These grants will help support the integration of agriculture into classroom instruction or after-school programs with an academic focus.

The Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grants are designed to help teachers initiate new projects or expand existing projects that promote agricultural literacy in students.   Grants can be used to fund innovative lessons, activities, classroom resources, guest speakers, outreach programs, educational trips, and other projects.

“The Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant provides my students, the littlest learners, the opportunity to explore Iowa agriculture in a fun and hands-on way. In the past we have learned about popcorn, the life cycle of the butterfly, and most recently we were awarded a grant to learn about ice cream!” said Megan Kuhlman, PreK teacher at Woodbine Community Schools. 

“I am so excited that I was awarded the grant,” said Judy Wiggins, first-grade teacher at Tri-Center Community Schools.

“This grant will allow me to bring a little bit of agriculture into my classroom. It will give students that may never have a chance to experience any type of agriculture, real life, hands-on learning. It will also provide the necessary books and materials to complete a unit on the life cycle of a chicken - from the egg to hatching live chicks!”

Many teachers in Iowa see the need to educate their students about agriculture, but don’t necessarily have the resources to do so. This grant gives them the tools and access to lessons plans that help to implement Agriculture in the Classroom programs. 

“As a teacher-farmwife these materials will help me teach the importance of agriculture to our students. The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation has been wonderful to work with,” said Lisa Blum, second-grade teacher at Denison Elementary. “The staff and the classes offered are outstanding!”

“We had very high-quality applications this year involving agriculture in core curriculum in innovative and creative ways,” said IALF Interim Executive Director, Barb Lykins. “These projects will allow teachers to make learning real and relevant for their students and still align to state educational standards.”

The grants are a special project of IALF and made possible through support from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

“The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is proud to provide financial assistance to support teachers in their classrooms,” said Ronnette Vondrak, IFBF community resources manager.  “Agricultural literacy is critical in further expanding knowledge and an understanding on the value and impact of Iowa agriculture.”

The projects will be completed before the end of the school year with final reports submitted by June 6, 2022. For more information, visit www.iowaagliteracy.org. 

The following are award recipients in the Loess Hills area (in alphabetical order by city name):

•            Amy Madsen, Carroll Middle School, Carroll

•            Rob Hart, Franklin School, Council Bluffs

•            Laurie Bancroft, Thomas Jefferson School, Council Bluffs

•            Nathan Van Zante, Lewis Central Middle School, Council Bluffs

•            Kevin Lewis, Heartland Christian School, Council Bluffs

•            Robert Tellgren, Lewis and Clark School, Council Bluffs

•            Theresa Huntley, Denison Elementary, Denison

•            Lisa Blum, Denison Community School, Denison

•            Vicki Rotert, St. Rose of Lima School, Denison

•            Merrilee Sump, Zion Lutheran School, Denison

•            Julie Peters, Glidden-Ralston Community School District, Glidden

•            Jason Weis, Harlan Community High School, Harlan

•            Rose Miller, Irwin Elementary, Irwin

•            Katie Johnsen, Logan-Magnolia Elementary, Logan

•            Kasey Jensen, Logan-Magnolia Elementary School, Logan

•            Michelle Griffen, Logan-Magnolia Elementary, Logan

•            Judy Wiggins, Tri-Center Elementary, Neola

•            Alex Herrington, Treynor High School, Treynor

•            Karsyn Kinney, Woodbine School, Woodbine

•            Megan Kuhlmann, Woodbine Community School, Woodbine

•            Danielle Peckenpaugh, Woodbine Community School, Woodbine

For more information, please visit www.IowaAgLiteracy.org

About Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom

Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom (LHAITC) is a regional effort of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). The inception of LHAITC was led by Carroll Co. Farm Bureau, Crawford Co. Farm Bureau, Harrison Co. Farm Bureau, Shelby Co. Farm Bureau, and West Pottawattamie Co. Farm Bureau and serves school districts in those counties. The mission of Agriculture in the Classroom is to "increase agricultural literacy through PK-12 education." An agriculturally literate person is "one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life." AITC programs seek to improve student achievement by applying authentic, agricultural-based content as the context to teach core curriculum concepts in science, social studies, language arts, and nutrition. By embedding agriculture into curriculum, AITC cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the food and fiber system that we rely on every day. AITC is unique within the agricultural education community as the lead organization to serve the full spectrum of PK-12 formal education.  For more information visit IALF online at www.IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.