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Monthly news & updates
December 2022 | Issue #135
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MAITC Grants Deadline Approaching!
Have you been wanting to take a field trip to a farm with your class? 
Do you need materials to do agriculture projects in your classroom? 
Are you trying to build a school garden or repair your school greenhouse
Do you need funds to help with any of these agriculture related projects
LOOK NO FURTHER! Maine Agriculture in the Classroom has grants available!
We are now accepting applications for
ALL CATEGORIES of grants for our December 13th deadline!
Up to $2,000!
You can apply for grants in the following categories:
  • Agriculture Awareness - Up to $1,000
  • Agriculture Awareness - Up to $2,000
  • School Garden & Greenhouse - Up to $,2000
  • Agriculture Leadership - Up to $1,000
  • Statewide Organization - Up to $,2000
Visit our website to download the applications.
Get your cool ag projects funded!
Applications (4 signed paper copies!) need to be MAILED to 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 and received by December 13th!
Questions? Contact the office:, (207)287-5522

We fund projects that promote an understanding of the food and fiber system in the state and the nation through the infusion of agricultural concepts into PreK-12th grade level curricula. Congratulations to our 2022 grant recipients so far! Visit our website for descriptions of the projects we've helped fund.
More Inspiring Agriculture in the Classroom Stories!
Jodi Badershall, educator in MSAD 58, received a MAITC scholarship and attended the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference in Saratoga Springs, NY this past June.
Here's an update from Jodi:

"I am so grateful that I was awarded the opportunity to attend the 2022 NAITC conference in Saratoga. I left the conference feeling confident, validated, and supported in my quest to provide students with a strong agricultural education program. My role as an educator took a surprising turn this fall. After years of being a middle-level science teacher, I found myself in mid-August transitioning to the first grade! Despite all of the challenges that it has brought, I have not let it sway me from my goal. We are participating in the Discover Dairy Adopt a Cow Program and have attended their virtual farm field trips. I have a student that raises beef cattle. I went to his farm and we made a video together comparing dairy and beef cattle and looking at the similarities and differences between parents/offspring. I also purchased our own "calf" for the classroom. I am in hopes of purchasing a real mini before the end of the school year as well! We have also studied various garden plants, apples, and fir trees. We have pressed our own cider and are in the process of making fir wreaths. We are studying sheep now, and this will include a sheep visit and a raw wool rug-making demonstration. Future plans include things like making maple syrup and ice cream, raising chicks, and studying how animals were used in the past, and to some extent still today, for farming and logging in our area. The conference gave me great ideas and increased my enthusiasm for all of the possibilities for bringing agriculture to our youth."

So many great projects incorporating agriculture into the classroom! Keep up the great work, Jodi! We can't wait to hear more!
Northeast Livestock Expo Kids Day
NELE Kids Day will be BACK for 2023 at the Windsor Fairgrounds on Thursday, May 18th! This is a full day field trip opportunity for Grade K-6 students! Up to 30 different exhibits to visit with agricultural animals, insects, history, and more!
Bus transportation reimbursements will be available for schools within a 60 mile radius of Windsor Fairgrounds on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration is MANDATORY!
Email with questions.
Our 2023 Read ME Agriculture Program!
Our "Read ME Agriculture" 2023 Program will be happening in March, focused on National Ag Week, the 20 - 24. This year’s book is  "Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera" by Candace Fleming with the incredible artwork of Eric Rohmann. Every classroom that participates will receive the hardcover book and accompanying Educator's Guide with 8 classroom lessons. 
To best serve the 1000 +/- classrooms throughout our state that participate in Read ME each year, the program will be a hybrid model where classrooms can decide the delivery method that works best for them. Options will include in-person and virtual readings. Classrooms can locate their own reader or ask MAITC to help. This is very similar to the successful model we started in 2021. Contacts may register their own classroom or schools may choose 1 contact to register multiple classrooms. 
MAITC is planning separate virtual sessions for grades PK - 1 and 2 - 4 this year. 
If you are interested, please complete this google form by February 10, 2023 and MAITC will contact you by email to fine tune your participation.

Please email us with any questions at: 
Summer Teacher's Institute 2023
Register Today for the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teacher's Institute!

July 31 - August 4, 2023
at University of Maine at Presque Isle
28 Contact Hours or 2.8 CEU’s.
Scholarships are available!

Learn more on our website and
Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute
Planning for the Second Annual Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute is underway!

Check out this video highlighting the Institute's launch!

If you'd like to learn more about the institute and building your school team, register for the info session happening on January 18th at 3pm. You can also visit the MFSN website for more info.
Harvest of the Month - December is Maine Winter Squash!
Check out our Winter Squash Resource Page for lessons, activities, books, and more!

Click here for the great Harvest of the Month (HOM) materials - posters, fact sheets, recipes, social media promo, and more!

Search the Ag Literacy Curriculum Matrix for even MORE resources!

All of our HOM Resource Pages can be found on our Teach ME site under "Teaching Units"
Teacher Resources Section
Discover Christmas Trees. Grades K-2, Grades 3-5. This lesson is composed of six learning activities to teach about the Christmas tree. Science, history, and geography topics are used to explore the history of the Christmas tree, life cycle of a conifer, types of trees and how they adapt, work on a Christmas tree farm, and the ecology of conifer trees. 

Healthy & Delicious Plant Food. Grades K-6. Check out lesson 4 from the Cool Beans from Around the World nutrition curriculum - recommended for December: Lesson 4. Healthy & Delicious Plant Food...the gift you give yourself! Cool Bean & Cultural Connection: GARBANZO Bean & the Middle East. Nutrition Focus: USDA & Harvard Healthy Eating Plates, Healthier Whole Grains (vs. processed). Fun and engaging worksheets with recipes too!

Food Master: Measurement. Grades 3-5. Students will learn where the ingredients in a cookie are made and make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to practice their measurement skills and fractional mathematics. 

Food Miles. Grades 3-5. Students will explore the economic and environmental benefits of buying locally grown food.

Ethnobotany for the Holidays. Grades 3-6. How do you combine history, social studies, geography, and science, and wrap in a bit of holiday fun? By exploring ethnobotany!

Discover Christmas Trees. Grades K-8. Curriculum Packet from Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. Contextualize your ELA, mathematics, social studies, science, and economics curriculum by teaching through the lens of agriculture and Christmas trees. Be inspired by both the experiential learning activities and the impressive history of these iconic conifers that impact our lives more than just one season a year. 

The Columbian Exchange of Old and New World Foods. Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12. Students will explore New World and Old World food origins to understand how the Columbian Exchange altered people's lives worldwide.

MyPlate, MyWin. Grades 9-12. Students will explore the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, compare and contrast historical food guides, and discover how to apply principles of MyPlate into their diet to create a "MyWin."

Looking for more? Explore the Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix HERE
In this video visit the largest Christmas Tree Farm in the world, learn about how Christmas trees are grown, and how to tell the difference between the three main kinds of Christmas trees.
Learn about the life cycle of a Christmas tree, why they are harvested by helicopter, and what it means for the environment in cutting them down versus an artificial tree.
Activities & Resources
The Maine Christmas Tree Association. Are you looking to buy a local tree or visit the Christmas tree farm nearest to you? The Maine Christmas Tree Association has a great search tool on their website. You can check them out on Facebook too!

Growing Up Evergreen. In this activity, students will explore how evergreen trees grow from cone to maturity by reading Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree? by Jennifer Blomgren and by making a bird feeder from a pine cone.

Value-Adding on a Christmas Tree Farm. In this activity, students will learn how to add value to Christmas trees by making scented pillows from balsam fir needles which can be used for gifts or potentially as a fundraiser for your classroom. Older students can also calculate the potential income from selling their value-added projects.

Christmas Tree Ag Mag. The Christmas Tree Ag Mag was written for elementary and middle school students. In this issue, students will learn about the origin of the Christmas tree tradition, discover different varieties of evergreen trees, identify pests that can damage trees, explore careers, and other fun facts. The ag mag includes specific statistics for North Carolina, the 2nd largest producer of Christmas trees. Visit the Interactive Map webpage to discover if your state produces Christmas trees. The reader can be viewed by students electronically on individual devices, as a class with a projector, or printed.

National Christmas Tree Association Educational Info. This website has a teacher's corner with great ideas for educators. You can also learn about the history of Christmas trees, different tree varieties, environmental benefits, holiday safety, the White House Christmas tree, and check out some puzzle and activity sheets for kids.

Chocolate Taste Testing. In this activity students will taste different types of chocolate to determine if price is an indicator of better taste. Chocolate is a New World food that is now beloved by cultures around the globe. Use this activity to engage students with lessons related to the Columbian Exchange, global trade, food ingredients, and food origins and processing.

Homemade Botanical Paper. Check out this fun activity! Could be a great homemade gift! Make your own cards, bookmarks, or ornaments using homemade paper. You can add accents from your garden like dried flowers and leaves, or to make it truly magical, add seeds so that your paper can be planted in the garden.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Resources. Check out this video where UMCE talks about how to properly identify and harvest Maine Balsam Fir tips. One tip: Hold off on collecting evergreen boughs for holiday decorations until after the trees have experienced at least three consecutive nights at 20 degrees. This will ensure that the needles hold on longer. Another tip from University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Avoid creating or purchasing holiday decorations that contain invasive species. There are many great alternatives to the tempting orange of bittersweet vines and the little red fruits of multiflora rose. Fruits from common winterberry and staghorn sumac; seed heads from black-eyed coneflower and native grasses; dried flowers; and even the spore fronds of sensitive fern are just a few of countless natural elements to consider for your seasonal creations. Learn more: Making Balsam Fir Wreaths, Christmas Tree Marketing, Safety in Christmas Tree Production.

Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0! Resources. The holiday season is upon us and celebrations are a part of the traditions we know and love. If you serve food at your upcoming celebrations, be sure and offer healthy choices. Check out these great ideas from Let's Go! 5-2-1-0! It’s also a great time to engage children in the kitchen. It’s beneficial for them and you! It gets everyone off screens, provides fun and valuable together time, and children are more likely to try new foods because they helped prepare it! Planning ahead can help you save money and eat healthy. Check out for more ideas on living 5-2-1-0 every day!
Maple Curriculum Support: Tapping into Maple Tradition - Lessons for K-12 Classrooms.

Looking for field trips? Check out Real Maine's Food, Farms, and Forest Search

ReTreeUS plants orchards in schools and provides educational programs that empower people to be healthy environmental stewards.

See the Maine Farm to School Census here. Are you participating?

Maine School Garden Network provides resources and technical assistance for all school gardens across Maine!

Search the National Ag in the Classroom Curriculum Matrix for resources

Fuel Up to Play 60 offers educators a wide array of resources they can use to help students make sustainable changes in their school environment.

Agroworld is an agricultural science e-zine developed for the secondary educator.

KidsGardening has ideas about plants and gardens, teacher resources, and grant opportunities.

The Chop Chop magazine and website has easy and healthy recipes.

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has curriculum, games, and resources available for educators and students.

This document is a compilation of agriculture related resources to be used in virtual and remote learning.

Pictures, videos, and words are hyperlinked throughout the document.
Funding from this plate has impacted up to 200,000 students annually with lessons, materials, volunteers and teacher training. Annually up to $60K is distributed in grants to schools, FFA, 4-H and other Non-profit programs for Ag education initiatives by the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Council.
Donate today to The Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Association
The Non-profit, completely volunteer, portion of MAITC. These funds are used directly to support teacher scholarships and recognition, and support volunteer participation for Ag education programs. Your donation is completely tax deductible and you can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation which will support the mission, "to promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public." If you have any other questions or would like to join this group please contact the chairman, Maryjane StaffordDonate Here.
Our Mission Statement
"To promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public"  
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