Ag in the Classroom Committee Meets

Will County Farm Bureau Graphic

The Ag in the Classroom Committee met at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 7th. Dakota, chairman, reviewed the final numbers for the last fiscal school year for the AITC Committee with 243 programs, reaching 289 educators, having 251 educators request additional education items, reaching over 7,797 students.

The grant for the 2023-24 school year was filed, and he thanked Tracey for her assistance in getting that completed. We should know something by mid-September on what we will receive for grant funding.

Dakota reported on the Tri-County Summer Ag Institute where between the three counties, there was 10 teachers with 3 from Will County and one teacher that switches schools between Will and Grundy. It was four straight days, which will be adjusted next year but they will offer 4 days spilt between 2 weeks. Teachers could earn 2 graduate credit hours or 6 hours professional development which was their choice. The teachers were driven to locations which allowed for a lot of conversation. The program will be changed to “4 Rivers Summer Ag Institute” for 2024.

Mark Jones is putting together back-to-school bags for the teachers, which was highlighted in the newsletter for well over 300 teachers. Ag Expo 2024 is set for March 11-14 at JJC, and they have hired a new person to replace Mary. They will be meeting in September to plan the 2024 Institute.

Will County Fair was reviewed, and event will be August 23-27 with set up Aug 22nd. The Harvest Dinner is set, and invitations will be sent again this week to all involved as we need to get numbers by August 30th for the September 8th program at the Gorman Farm. The committee is meeting Thursday night, and we currently have 22 volunteers set to work event and could use 3-4 more.

Abby provided an ag advisory report on Peotone FFA. They had a good year, with 3 state winners and many other winners at District. A special recognition is being developed for the winners. They have been listed as one of the top FFA Chapters in the top 3% in the Country. They are looking to possibly start a new greenhouse and may tie it to their 90th Anniversary. Their new outside classroom location has been doing well.

Nancy provided her report with 10 new garden programs this summer, which will be tied into food pantries. She has 9 other new programs for this summer; looking to build more. Kids in Nature are in their 16th year with 75 kids for 5 1/2 weeks in June and July.

September is the next coordinator meeting, and Dakota provided a report from Luke with the FFA and Ag program starting in Crete Monee High School this fall, and Rebecca Bernacki is the teacher. Jr. Ag Mags have been developed with pumpkins, soil, and apples with more to follow, and they are working on French and Spanish languages as well.

Mark reported on the back-to-school program he attended with Senator Cappel and Representative Manley. The elected officials farm tour is this Friday with 21 guests signed up. We asked for family to attend in addition, and we have 5 kids attending, so we developed goodie bags. They discussed the committee, and with several not attending in over 16 months, those people will be removed as voted on by the committee. They developed a new list of people to replace them.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m., and the next meeting is set for Thursday, November 16th.

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