On Sept. 20, National Teach Ag Day celebrates teachers and encourages students to consider a career in agricultural education.
In honor of this celebration, Michigan Farm Bureau is highlighting the eight Michigan FFA Chapters which received the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture’s #SpeakAgMichigan award in 2018. This award is given to chapters engaged in agricultural education and outreach activities in their communities.
Winning chapters set clear goals and worked with partnering organizations and teachers to deliver dynamic learning experiences for youth and adults. The 2018 #SpeakAgMichigan application deadline is Dec. 1, 2018.
The Springport FFA chapter was selected as the 2nd Place chapter a series of programming including their bee pollinator lessons. Learn more about their involvement with this award and what their future plans are for promoting agriculture.
Q: What is one of your chapter’s goals for increasing agriculture literacy?
A: Our bee pollinator program is just one example of the many ways our high school students help to educate younger students about agriculture. The program’s goal is to organize a honey bee pollinator program to educate 14 elementary classrooms in grades K-5 on the importance of pollinators in the environment and the agricultural industry, through lessons designed by 60 freshman agriscience students in early October. In class, agriscience students used a classroom lesson on bee biology and online resources to help create a 30-minute lesson about bees and the importance of pollinators in agriculture.
Q: What will your program do with the funds from the #SpeakAgMichigan Award?
A: As the Bee Pollinator Program continues to grow, there is an increased need for protective bee suits to provide more hands-on opportunities to learn. At this point in time, the chapter only owns two bee suits, which limits the number of people who can work on the hives at one time. If the chapter purchased more bee suits, it would open up the opportunity to have more hands-on lessons at the school’s bee hives. This would also increase the number of students who may want to pursue an Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) in honey bee production.
Q: What does receiving the #SpeakAgMichigan award mean to your program?
A: The #SpeakAgMichigan program and award represents one of the fundamentals of an agriscience program and FFA chapter, which is strengthening agriculture through agricultural literacy. Our bee pollinator program, planning and involvement in Project RED, and our Harvestfest all exemplify those efforts. The award is important to us because it allows us to recognize and evaluate those efforts and motivate students to seek that recognition.
Q: What does the support of organizations like Michigan Farm Bureau mean to your program?
A: Michigan Farm Bureau's support is critical to helping motivate quality and providing support for these programs through the award. Not only do we utilize the free lesson resources they provide, but with the monetary award we were able to purchase educational banners from the Farm Bureau store as well as purchase educational supplies for our program. Farm Bureau’s support also shows our students that agricultural advocacy doesn't stop when you graduate and you can continue involvement and have a voice in agriculture through their programs.
The #SpeakAgricultureMichigan awards are presented by Michigan Farm Bureau with financial support from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)(3) governed by Michigan Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, positively contributes to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.