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University of Illinois Extension serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties

Montgomery County
#1 Industrial Park Dr.
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
FAX: 217-532-3944
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

Christian County
1120 N Webster St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Phone: 217-287-7246
FAX: 217-287-7248
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 11:30 am; 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Jersey County
201 W. Exchange St.
Suite A
Jerseyville, IL 62052
Phone: 618-498-2913
FAX: 618-498-5913
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4 pm and Thursday 8 am to 12 pm

Macoupin County
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

News Release

Montgomery County Ag in the Classroom is hatching fun and learning in local classrooms

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ill. – Students ranging in age from preschool to fifth grade in Hillsboro, Coffeen, Nokomis, Farmersville, and Litchfield learned about chicken embryology up close by hatching chicks in the classroom. The project is offered by the University of Illinois Extension Agricultural Literacy’s “Ag in The Classroom” program. Beth Groves, Montgomery County Agricultural Literacy Program Coordinator said, “This lesson is very popular with schools because it is both fun and educational. It’s something the students never forget.”

In addition to hatching chicks, students learn about chicken Embryology – “the branch of biology and medicine concerned with the study of embryos and their development,” Groves explained. Each classroom houses the chicken eggs in incubators with automatic turners. Students are responsible for checking that their incubator is maintaining a constant temperature between 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit and keeping the humidity level between 45%-55%. This is accomplished by adding water to small troughs in the incubators.

Groves described that, “On hatch day, students start seeing ‘pips” or a small hole created by an egg tooth. This indicates to student’s that their chicks are ready to hatch.” She added, “It’s been very exciting for the students. I gave each class an incubation calendar to follow. The calendar explains what’s happening inside the egg every day.” At the conclusion of the project, the baby chicks are distributed to their new homes.

Classrooms participating in the program include: Beckemeyer Elementary School (Classrooms of Karen Donham, Jacquelyn Fenske, Stephanie Paden, Elise Kindernay, Alycia Morford, Rebecca Waters, Dacia Brown, Megan Cady, Ann Rogers, and Beth Coleman); Nancy’s Daycare in Hillsboro (Nancy Redman); United Methodist Church Preschool in Hillsboro (Michelle Brown); Coffeen Elementary (Classrooms of Sarah Vanmiddendorp, Emilie Moroney); Nokomis North Elementary School (Classrooms of Jodi Marty, Shelby Martincic, Theresa Cruthis, and Debi Gonet); Cornerstone Academy in Nokomis (Abby Reynolds); Farmersville Grade School (Classrooms of Sarah Lehman and Jan Smith); Sihler School in Litchfield (Cathy Shepherd); Madison Park in Litchfield (Classrooms of Penny Niemann, Leslie Farrar, Lindsey Knes, and Trish Fenton); and Colt School in Litchfield (Kayla Pennock).

The program was coordinated by Beth Groves, Program Coordinator for Montgomery County Agricultural Literacy.  For more information about this program or “Ag in the Classroom” contact Beth at 217-532-3941 or via email Agricultural in the Classroom in Montgomery County is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, Montgomery County Farm Bureau, M & M Service Company, Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom, Montgomery County SWCD, and Central IL Livestock Association.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact our office. Universidad de Illinois ofrece igualdad de oportunidades en programas y empleo. Si usted necesita un ajuste razonable para participar en este programa, por favor póngase en contacto con nuestra oficina.


 Photo Caption: Students at Beckemeyer Elementary School check in on their newest “classmates”.


Local Contact: Beth Groves, Program Coordinator, Agriculture Literacy,