Ambassadors Advance Ag Understanding

Posted: November 15, 2021

How do you reach busy teachers with new information? They’re already trying to tune into the specific needs of students, keeping records, communicating with parents, sanitizing desks and supplies, planning lessons…oh, and teaching.

One of the activities enjoyed by Ambassadors during the workshops focused on soybean plants. Posing with their plants are (from left) Melissa Irick, Hiawatha Elementary (Kirkland); Joann Pardridge, Indian Creek Elementary (Shabbona); Susan Pelikan, St. Mary School (DeKalb); Sandy Arndt, Genoa-Kingston Middle School; Donna High, Aurora Christian Schools – Cornerstone Campus (Sycamore); and Lisa Fleming, Indian Creek High School (Shabbona).

That’s where the Ag Literacy Ambassadors come in. Each year, DeKalb County Farm Bureau enlists the help of teachers to share ag literacy information with their fellow educators.

Each Ambassador who attended a workshop received a tote bag. Shown are (from left) Jon Walter, Southeast Elementary (Sycamore); Joy Walter, North Grove Elementary (Sycamore); Dayna Anderson, DeKalb High School; Pam Olson, Sycamore High School; Dana Timmermann, Kingston Elementary; and Laurie Jacobson, West Elementary (Sycamore).

Most of the 42 elementary, middle, and high school buildings in DeKalb County have an Ambassador. Their role is to share and promote information about ag literacy programs and resources to the other teachers in their buildings. They also distribute items like the farm fact calendars provided by Illinois Ag in the Classroom and books donated annually to school libraries.

Teachers Lisa Fleming, Susan Pelikan, and Sandy Arndt work together on a insects activity during the Ag Literacy Ambassador workshop.

To aid them in their Ambassador role, Farm Bureau offers a special workshop each fall. The workshop highlights resources like the AgriLearning Kits and Ag Mags, and reviews programs such as Ag in the Classroom presentations and the Summer Ag Institute. Workshop participants also try new activities and discuss ways to address agricultural topics such as food safety and the environment.

New Teachers Gifted with Totes

DeKalb County Farm Bureau’s Ag Literacy program undertook a new way to connect with teachers this fall: New Teacher Totes! Elementary and middle school principals and Ag Literacy Ambassadors were invited to request tote bags for new classroom teachers in their buildings. Each tote contained a children’s book, related lesson plan, classroom set of Ag Mags, activity supplies, and other resources customized to the teacher’s grade level and subject area. Thirty-eight new teachers received bags.

North Elementary School (Sycamore) 3rd grade teacher Melissa Daykin was thrilled to receive her tote from Ag Literacy Coordinator Rhodora Collins.