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March 01, 2012   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
March 01, 2012

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - April 15 is more than just tax day. It’s also the last day to submit an application for this year’s Alabama Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Summer Institute, a grassroots program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program teaches educators about agriculture and introduces them to new strategies for incorporating agriculture into their classrooms activities.

Eligible applicants include K-6 teachers, media specialists and administrators.

The 2012 program will be at the Marriott Grand National in Opelika, June 12-14. Tuition to the institute is free and teachers can receive continuing education credits for the workshop.

Attendees get their hands dirty with agricultural activities and field trips to working farms. They also receive take-home educational materials and teaching strategies to incorporate agricultural education into their classrooms and schools. Activity skills used include language arts, science, social studies and mathematics.

“It’s very important to expose children to agriculture in the classroom because nowadays many children never learn about rural life or the importance of farming,” said AITC Chairman Kim Earwood, who also serves as director of the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Division.

Past participants say the workshop is one of the best they have ever attended.

“I’ve been absolutely wowed,” second-grade teacher Lydia Davis of Indian Valley Elementary School in Sylacauga said following last year’s institute. “The impact it has had on me is phenomenal. Going to the farms is wonderful. When I saw the seed, the tractor and the soil and then saw the pride in the farmer’s eye as he showed us what he did, it was so impactful. I can’t wait to share it with my students.”

Sponsors of the program include the Alabama Farmers Federation, Alfa Insurance, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Alabama Poultry Contract Growers Association, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, Alabama Farmers Federation State Soybean Committee and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. Proceeds from the sale of ag tag license plates also benefit the program.

Lodging, meals and workshop materials are provided for AITC participants. Applications are available online at AlabamaAITC.org and must be received by April 15. There is no fee to apply or attend.

For additional information contact Earwood at (334) 612-5370 or e-mail kearwood@alfafarmers.org.Mail applications to: Kim Earwood, Alabama Ag in the Classroom, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191 or fax to (334) 284-3957.

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