Re-post written by Lily Baucom at the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture
875 third through fifth grade students were challenged to put their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to work while exploring Georgia agriculture when the Georgia Ag Experience (GAE) recently visited their schools.
The GAE, an innovative and interactive mobile classroom managed by the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) recently spent eight days at Lincoln and Oconee County public schools taking students on a deep dive into the state’s largest economic sector with state-of-the-art STEM curriculum. The eight days of agriculture education in these counties were made possible through funding from Harrison Poultry, Inc. Based in Bethlehem (Barrow County), Harrison Poultry, Inc. is a family-oriented company taking pride in producing distinctive poultry products that are distributed globally. Sponsor funding helps the GFA cover costs of driving the mobile classroom to a community and keeps the school’s fee to bring the classroom low.
“Our program is critical to the future of Georgia agriculture as it helps to narrow the gap between farmers who grow food and consumers. Most students are four generations removed from the farm. Now, more than ever, we need to encourage young people to consider the career opportunities in agriculture,” GFA Executive Director Lily Baucom said.
A central goal of the Georgia Ag Experience is to reach elementary school students and teachers who lack knowledge of agriculture. Prior to receiving a visit from the mobile classroom, the majority of students and teachers indicated in a survey that they knew very little about agriculture. Additionally, sixty-five percent of students visiting the classroom in Lincoln County are eligible for free and reduced lunch. The program is about sparking a passion for agriculture and empowering students to learn how to grow their own food. The Georgia Ag Experience aims to address these challenges and provide students with what may be their only opportunity for exposure to agriculture in such detail.
On April 13 and 14, 238 Lincoln County Elementary School students visited the Georgia Ag Experience thanks to Harrison Poultry, Inc. serving as a district sponsor to bring the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture’s Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom to the school. For six days between April 15 and 22, 292 students at Oconee County Elementary School and 345 students at Dove Creek Elementary School also visited the Georgia Ag Experience.
During the Georgia Ag Experience mobile agriculture classroom visit, students engage in self-guided and teacher-led study and activities including eight stations outfitted with STEM technology and digital learning, an Ag Scavenger Hunt, AgBINGO and more. STEM stations inside the mobile ag classroom cover a variety of topics including ag careers, peanuts, cotton, poultry, forestry, horticulture, beef & dairy, fruit, vegetables and pecans. The mobile classroom content and curriculum was carefully developed by ag and education professionals to meet the Georgia curriculum standards. The GAE aims to provide the same educational experience for every student with the goal of increasing students’ knowledge of and attitude toward Georgia agriculture.
“GFA is grateful to have Harrison Poultry, Inc. fund school visits as a district sponsor. They understand the value and need of the program we have developed and have now delivered to nearly 20,000 Georgia students in a little over a year,” Baucom said. “Our relationship with Harrison Poultry, Inc. has been a win for this region.”
The GAE will make its way to other area schools and events including McDuffie County’s Norris Elementary School and Clarke County’s Athens YMCA Camp Kelley in late May.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA AG EXPERIENCE: The GAE is a mobile classroom, created by the GFA, that is housed in a 36-foot trailer, to give third through fifth-grade students and the public a chance to visit a poultry house, cattle pasture, stand of timber, horticulture nursery, a produce stand full of fresh Georgia fruit, vegetables and pecans, cotton and peanut fields. Colorful farm photos, interactive technology and displays of products made from the various ag commodities highlight the importance of Georgia agriculture to our daily lives. All exhibits and lessons that are part of the GAE mobile classroom have been professionally designed to meet STEM curriculum standards. For more information about the Georgia Ag Experience visit www.georgiaagexperience.orgor to become a sponsor, contact Lily Baucom at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-405-3461.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA FOUNDATION for AGRICULTURE: The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to preparing the next generation of leaders for success in Georgia agriculture. The GFA works with Georgia Farm Bureau and other Georgia agricultural and educational organizations to achieve its mission. The foundation offers scholarships to students pursuing agricultural careers, funds leadership development programs and projects that increase the public’s understanding of agriculture. To make a tax-deductible donation, learn more about the foundation or the scholarships, visit www.gafoundationag.org or contact Lily Baucom at email@example.com or 478-405-3461.