Ag Literacy Lines A blog featuring fun information on agriculture for youth and adults. Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/rss.xml Summer Ag Institute! https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_8245/ Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:32:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_8245/
First, our institute will be a four day long workshop where teachers who attend will gain TONS of resources to take back to their classrooms. We hope for each teacher to leave with a box of materials, lessons, and example make-and-takes to easily introduce the new ideas gained into their classrooms.  Ask around in your school for teachers who have completed previous years institutes and see how they liked it!

The SAI will start Thursday, June 12th with lessons from Ag in the Classroom, all paired with Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards.  We will also go over some of our popular kits.  A farmer panel will wrap up the day to give teachers an opportunity to talk to some organic and non-organic farmers about how they run their operation and what their daily activities include.

On Friday, we will have a full day of touring.  This year, we are going to visit the Twin Groves Wind Farm, have a "working lunch" at Avanti's, and then visit Rader Family Farms, then on to Ropp Dairy Farm, all in Bloomington.  I hope teachers will gain an understanding of how agri-tourism is a growing industry, and see how these families are playing a role in the communities in which they are surrounded by. 

We have the weekend off, then will start back up on Monday with a visit from Illinois Ag in the Classroom in the morning, and Luke Allen from FCAE (Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education).  They will go over the newest resources, lessons, and books that are available to teachers.

On our final day, Tuesday the 17th, we will begin with a tour of Incobrasa in Gilman, then hear from our commodity groups such as Dairy and Corn.  We will wrap up the institute with some reflection, how everything learned can be implemented in your classroom, and how Ford-Iroquois Ag in the Classroom can help.

Teachers will have the opportunity to earn 28 CPDU's, or can opt for 2 grad credits through Aurora University(extra cost of $200).  If you have taken the SAI for two Aurora credits, you will not be able to get credit again, only CPDU's. Our cost this year is $150, and will cover everything needed for the four days(bus to Bloomington, all food, all materials, all tour admissions, etc).  There is a $50 non-competitive scholarship from Farm Bureau that is available to teachers upon completion of the institute. The lessons will benefit teachers in every discipline, grades pre-K through 12.  Prizes will be given out through out the workshop to random teachers including books and other new teaching materials from Illinois Ag in the Classroom.

If you are interested in attending this year, or have any other questions, you can contact me at dgerndt@illinois.edu or by phone at 815-268-4051.  Registration can be completed here on our website or through a paper application if you contact me.

I look forward to seeing you this summer!]]>
Updates, Contests, and Babies, Oh My! https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7973/ Mon, 10 Feb 2014 19:07:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7973/ I hope each of you are braving the cold temperatures outside as we continue on throughout the month of February! This month we have started talking about the equine industry, more specifically horses. The students absolutely love telling us about their experiences with horses, and have enjoyed learning how much of an impact horses have on our state. This is a new lesson, so we too are enjoying the new activities and responses to this lesson thus far.

Avery Gerndt has made her arrival! Danielle has been enjoying the new addition and some much needed family time as well since her arrival! Big sister Ella absolutely loves having a little sister, and can't keep her eyes off of her.

Coloring contest entries are DUE this Friday, February 14th! The contest has been broken down into three categories: PreK-3, Grades 4-8, and Grades 9-12. The youngest entries will be able to color a pre-designed coloring page about agriculture and submit it. Each entry will receive a small prize. The 4-8 graders will be able to make their own poster on a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper centered around the topic of "365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed," which is the National Agriculture Week theme. Students in grades 9-12 will be able to enter an original photo taken by them, also involving somehow the National Ag Week theme. If you have yet to participate, I encourage you to have your students submit their entry by this Friday. All entries should be mailed or delivered to the University of Illinois Extension office in Onarga, IL. Please direct all questions to Danielle Brown our AITC Intern at djbrown5@illinois.edu.

Once again, the Commodity Challenge is underway! The Illinois Farm Bureau has a great opportunity for high school ag, math, or economics students who would like to take on a new challenge! This challenge involves fictitious marketing of 100,000 bushels of corn and 30,000 bushels of beans. Classes must register before March 15th, and grain was available to be marketed beginning January 2nd, 2014 through November 28th, 2014. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three groups in each of the 4 divisions starting at $1000 for first place, $500 for 2nd, and $250 for third. If you would like more information regarding the challenge and how to enter, please go to www.commoditychallenge.com and click the "Join" button to create your account! Once your account is set, click "Find a Game," and choose which you would like to participate in. The password for each game is Membership. I think this would be a really great way for students to get a real feel for an agriculture related job!

Thank you to those teachers that have sent in coloring contest entries. We are looking forward to seeing more in our office this week! Any questions? Call our office at 815-268-4051 or email Danielle Brown at djbrown5@illinois.edu.

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Back from Break! https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7870/ Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:44:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7870/
First, I want to update everyone on my maternity leave.  I will be out all of February, as well as most of March.  In my absence, my intern, Danielle Brown, will be holding down the AITC office! She already has some presentations booked, and still has openings if you are interested in having Ag in the Classroom come into your school.  While I will be checking e-mail periodically, should you have any questions or concerns, you can contact her either via e-mail at djbrown5@illinois.edu or by phone at the Champaign office (217) 333-7672 or Onarga office (815) 268-4051.  She has already done some lessons with me, and is doing an excellent job!

That leads to our next topic, which is our presentations for February and March.  During these months, we will be discussing horses! This is a new lesson, which will teach the kids the difference between breeds and types of horses, as well as include a fun activity for them to participate in! Again, if you would like to schedule a horse presentation, please contact Danielle Brown to check availability!

We also have our coloring contest quickly approaching!! We are firing this back up after a short break, and are looking forward to seeing many submissions!  This year, the contest will be broken down into three categories: PreK-3, Grades 4-8, and Grades 9-12.  The youngest entries will be able to color a pre-designed coloring page about agriculture and submit it.  Each entry will receive a small prize.  The 4-8 graders will be able to make their own poster on a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper centered around the topic of "365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed," which is the National Agriculture Week theme.  Students in grades 9-12 will be able to enter an original photo taken by them, also involving somehow the National Ag Week theme.  Entries in the older two groups will be judged at F-I Ag Day, February 21st at the Christ Lutheran School in Buckley.  One winner from each of the two categories will be chosen, as well as two honorable mentions from each category.  These winners will receive cash prizes!! Hard copies and e-mails will be sent out detailing the rules and guidelines for each group. I encourage you to have your students participate!

I would also like to congratulate Kim Eggemeyer and Chris Denton from Iroquois West and Jody Musterman from Crescent City on receiving book grants from Illinois Ag in the Classroom! These grants are available at the beginning of every school year for teachers throughout the state to promote ag literacy in more classrooms!  Congratulations on your successful grants!!

Finally, I would like to talk about the Illinois Farm Bureau Commodity Challenge! This is a great opportunity for high school ag, math, or economics students who would like to take on a new challenge!  This challenge involves fictitious marketing of 100,000 bushels of corn and 30,000 bushels of beans.  Classes must register before March 15th, and grain was available to be marketed beginning January 2nd, 2014 through November 28th, 2014.  Cash prizes are awarded to the top three groups in each of the 4 divisions starting at $1000 for first place, $500 for 2nd, and $250 for third.  If you would like more information regarding the challenge and how to enter, please go to www.commoditychallenge.com and click the "Join" button to create your account!  Once your account is set, click "Find a Game," and choose which you would like to participate in.  The password for each game is Membership.  I think this would be a really great way for students to get a real feel for an agriculture related job!]]>
Welcome to Facebook F-I AITC! https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7582/ Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:02:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7582/ https://www.facebook.com/FordIroquoisAITC and like our page to follow what we are doing!!  We are excited for the opportunity to bring our AITC program into the world of Facebook!

I also wanted to thank those who came to our Ag Career Night last week! I am happy to say we had almost 70 people in attendance! I feel the night was a success, and hope the students and parents who were able to attend agreed!  This is an event that is very important in our communities, and we are happy to put it on for the kids.  We will be continuing to grow and expand our career night each year, with the goal of reaching as many students as possible to inform them of the MANY career opportunities in agriculture!

My calendar still has a few dates left for pumpkin presentations if you would be interested in having AITC come to your class! The kids have all really enjoyed the program, especially the pie we get to make! You can call or e-mail me if you would like to schedule in the next two weeks. 

If you have already done pumpkins, or are just interested in a different topic, we will be introducing TREES in December and January! In this program we will be discussing the difference between types of trees, ornamental, evergreen, deciduous, flowering, etc, as well as how they can be used.  We will be doing a hands on trivia game, and maybe even a craft!  Again, please call or e-mail to set up a time for me to come to your class! I have many open dates!
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Upcoming Events! https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7480/ Fri, 18 Oct 2013 08:56:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7480/
In less than three weeks, we will be coming together again for our second annual Agriculture Career Night!  This is an event that I have had a great deal of fun planning, and am really looking forward to! We will be at the Farm Bureau office in Gilman on November 7th from 5 to 8 pm.  We will be joined by representatives from Kankakee Community College, Illinois State University, Parkland College, Lakeland College, Joliet Junior College, Western Illinois University, University of Illinois, and Illinois Central College, as well as at least 17 different 'agribusiness leaders' from our community.  What I hope for the kids and parents to get out of this is a greater knowledge of what agriculture careers are available, and what it would take to prepare yourself for a career in agriculture.  This event was very successful last year, and I hope it will continue to grow.  If you know any junior or senior high kids who are interested in a career in ag, I encourage you to have them and their parents register for this event.

Classroom presentations are going great so far! October and November we are discussing pumpkins.  With this lesson, we talk about the life cycle of a pumpkin, its origins, and even make a quick pumpkin pie!  If you would like to have a presentation in your school, please call or e-mail me (815-268-4051 or dgerndt@illinois.edu) to schedule a time!

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Welcome Back https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7243/ Wed, 04 Sep 2013 09:52:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_7243/
  • September: Pigs
  • October/November: Pumpkins
  • December/January: Trees
  • February/March: Horses
  • April/May: Horticulture

I will be most likely be out all of February and most of March for maternity leave, but hope to have an intern or volunteers available to come teach presentations during those months!

I also have a long list of kits available for checkout.  Feel free to call or e-mail me to reserve one of our resources!

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Thank You to Teachers and Schools for Your Support https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_6657/ Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:53:00 +0000 https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/eb166/entry_6657/

Watseka Head Start Paxton Day Care

Calvary Preschool Busy Hands Preschool


Iroquois West Upper Elem. School (Thawville)

Kathy Endres, Jill Murphy

Gilman Elementary School

Jayme Curl, Amber Hamilton, Amanda Kurtenbach, Rachel Basham, Carl Torbeck, Deb Talbert, Kim Eggemeyer, Chris Denton, Amber Harkins, Marsha Swan, Christina Duncan, Kristy Rader, Cheryl Broderick, Chris Basham


Danforth Elementary School

Patrick Miller, Laurie Rodriguez, Marilyn Geisler, Megan Wilken


GCMS Elementary

Kristin Wilson, Courtney Hohulin, Karisa Yeagle

Iroquois West High School

Carley Eighner, Christina Brown, Iroquois West FFA


Crescent City Grade School

Joyce Dorsey, Jody Munsterman

Clifton Central High School

Central FFA


Donovan Schools

Amy Bauer, Ryan Loy


Milford Grade School West (Milford)

Shelisa Henrichs, Connie Huffman, Lora Hooper, Linda Ash

Milford High School

Milford FFA


PBL Clara Peterson

Katelyn Barker


PBL Eastlawn School

Lisa Niewold, Sharla Waugh, Cheryl Pitman


St. John's – Buckley

Laura Birge, Rebekah Meyer


Woodland Grade School

Deann Johnson


Wanda High School

Watseka FFA]]>