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June 24, 2008   Email to Friend 

TEACHERS GET FIRST-HAND EDUCATION ABOUT FARMING
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
June 24, 2008

Madison County farmer Dennis Bragg, right, talks to teachers about this year's wheat harvest during the annual Alabama Ag in the Classroom summer conference held in Huntsville June 17-19. The conference included workshops, seminars and farm tours.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A group of Alabama teachers who recently walked through Mike Moore's wheat field in Madison County may never look at a loaf of bread the same again. Seventy-three educators from throughout the state attended the annual Alabama Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Summer Institute June 17-19 which included workshops, tours and educational seminars.

Moore, who was busy harvesting this year's wheat crop, said he was impressed with the questions the teachers asked and how interested they were in his farm. He thanked the participants for attending the conference.

"As the number of farmers declines, we need help telling our story," Moore said. "You can help us to do that," adding that he would encourage teachers to invite farmers to visit with students in their classrooms.

AITC helps teachers incorporate agriculture into an array of course studies including reading, science, mathematics and history.

Nettie Edwards of Summerdale School in Baldwin County said the AITC summer institute is the best teacher program she has ever attended.

"This isn't a workshop where you listen to someone talk for 90 minutes, it's really hands-on," she said. "The highlight of the meeting for me was going to the fields and actually watching the farmers work. We take for granted what farmers do for us. I can incorporate so much of what I've learned here into the curriculum for my classroom for reading, language arts, science and social studies.

"I won't complain about the price of food any more. I appreciate farmers for everything they do. I just didn't realize all that they do to help us."

Kim Earwood is chairman of the AITC state steering committee. She said in addition to the summer institute, the program also provides county workshops throughout the year, distributes literature and classroom materials and provides information to state teachers about the National AITC program.

During the summer institute, Alabama's AITC Teacher of the Year was named. She is Kerra Middleton of Tanner Williams Elementary School in Mobile County where she works as a media specialist.

"Kerra has attended three of our summer institutes and has served as a presenter during national AITC conferences," Earwood said. "She will represent Alabama in St. Louis, Mo. next year as Alabama's candidate for National AITC Teacher of the Year."

For more information about AITC visit the Web site www.AlabamaAITC.org.


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