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February 21, 2003   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
February 21, 2003

Ag in the Classroom Summer Institutes include tours of farms, agricultural research facilities and allied industries. Teachers participate in hands-on exercises and see first hand how food and fiber is produced and processed. The participants also receive curriculum packets designed to help them incorporate agriculture into daily lessons.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Elementary school teachers will have an opportunity to learn about the state's largest industry and earn continuing education credit by attending the Alabama Agriculture in the Classroom summer institute.

Alabama Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) is an interdisciplinary educational program that promotes ag literacy for students in all grade levels K-12. Two summer workshops, one scheduled for June 4-6 in Prattville and the other for June 11-13 in Decatur, will target elementary teachers in grades 1-4.

"During the Ag in the Classroom workshops, teachers tour actual farms, research facilities and allied industries," said Ashley Davis, spokesperson for AITC. "They also receive curriculum packets and project ideas designed to help them incorporate agriculture into daily lessons."

"Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world because they shape the minds of young people," said Jerry Newby, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, one of the largest supporters of the program. "Because so few people work on the farm, it is becoming more important that we share the story of agriculture and farming. These workshops allow teachers to return to the classroom with that story and share it with their students."

Jean Jackson, a first-grade teacher at Ruhama Elementary School in Dekalb County, attended a previous summer institute. She said the knowledge she gained from visiting working farms would help her dispel some misconceptions her students have about food. "We live in a rural community, and when I ask my first-graders if they know where milk and eggs come from, they say the grocery store," she said. "That bothers me. We should all know where our food comes from and not take it for granted."

The deadline for applications for this year's workshop is April 1. Each workshop will be limited to 70 teachers and applicants will be selected on the basis of an application form provided by the AITC planning committee. For more information about AITC, including the summer institute, contact Ashley Davis at 1-800-392-5705, ext. 3280, or email her at adavis@alfafarmers.org.

Application forms can be downloaded from the AITC website at http://www.alabamaaitc.org.

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