Webberville FFA educates community through outreach programming | Michigan Farm News

Webberville FFA educates community through outreach programming

Category: People

by Samantha Ludlam

Elementary school students visit Webberville FFA’s greenhouse during the AGstravaganza event.

Agriculture teachers help students become entrepreneurs and agriculturalists who will help shape the future of agriculture through development of skills, problem solving, and experiential learning.

On September 20, National Teach Ag Day celebrates these teachers and encourages students to consider a career in agricultural education. In honor of this celebration, this eight part series is highlighting the 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 December 1, 2018.

The Webberville FFA Chapter was selected as the sixth place chapter for their AGstravaganza event. Chapter advisor Colleen Scott-Keiser shares the value of high school students sharing their agricultural knowledge with the community.

Q: What does receiving the #SpeakAgMichigan award mean to you and your students?

A: The #SpeakAgMichigan Award is what keeps our AGstravaganza program flourishing by allowing the Webberville FFA Chapter to fund the stations used to teach our elementary students about agriculture in their world. The award also validates the work that our members do to educate our students as well as our community about agriculture. The #SpeakAgMichigan award impact is seen throughout the community from our senior citizen events to our youngest of elementary students and families.

Q: What is one of your chapter’s goals for increasing your community’s understanding of agriculture?

A: One of our annual goals is to have 500 K-12 students attend the AGstravaganza event. The AGstravganza is Webberville FFA’s annual event aimed at educating elementary and middle school students about their agricultural community and how it relates to food, fiber, and fuel. Students tour 12 stations relating to food, fiber and fuel sources. Each station will have a mini-lesson to educate students about the role agriculture plays in their daily lives. Local farmers and alumni members also donate the use of a tractor, wagon, and straw to transport students from the elementary school to the high school agriscience facilities and educate them about the equipment in the process.

Q: What will your program do with the funds from the #SpeakAgMichigan Award?

A: We would like to create a mini-mobile agricultural library targeted toward K-5 readers. Our rural low-income community has a population of students who struggle with reading but have a fascination with agriculture around them. Our goal would be to create a library with agriculture related books to lend to classes on a rotational basis. We feel that these reading groups would help cultivate readers and develop students understanding of the agriculture industry at an even younger age.

Q: What does the support of organizations like Michigan Farm Bureau mean to your program?

A: The support of organizations like Michigan Farm Bureau is the foundation that our chapter is built on. Local farmers, FFA alumni as well as local Farm Bureau members have been the driving force that keep our chapter alive especially when our chapter was in danger of being eliminated. These organizations continue to financially support our chapter and its members are always ready to lend a helping hand. We couldn’t provide the many FFA opportunities to our members without the support of organizations like Michigan Farm Bureau. Michigan Farm Bureau helps to validate the foot prints of agriculture in our community.

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.