New York Agriculture in the Classroom | March 2019
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Important Dates:

March 8- Agricultural Literacy Grant Round 1 Deadline

March 18-22- Agricultural Literacy Week

March 22 Agricultural Literacy Grant Round 2 Deadline

March 31-April 2- Into the Woods: Forestry Training

April 5 Agricultural Literacy Grant Round 3 Deadline

April 19 - Agricultural Literacy Grant Round 4 Deadline

May 21-23- On the Farm Event in Syracuse, NY 

June 18-21- National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Arkansas

Fund your Creative Projects
Apply for an Agricultural Literacy Grant
The Agricultural Literacy Grant was created to help fund your most creative ideas to teach through a lens of agriculture. Submit your great idea to enhance your classroom learning and let New York Agriculture in the Classroom support your endeavor to include agriculture as a context for learning.

An Agricultural Literacy Grant proposal can be anywhere between $10 to a maximum of $1,200. Proposals for the Agricultural Literacy Grant can include, but are not limited to: f unding for farm field trips, p urchasing agriculturally accurate books, m aterials for classroom projects, s tarting a courtyard chicken coop, and e xpanding your school garden project, and more. 

Grant proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis until Friday, May 1, 2019 and s ubmissions will be reviewed every two weeks. Find more information and the  application here

Win a Scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Arkansas!
New York Agriculture in the Classroom wants to support your travel to the premier professional development conference about teaching through a lens of food and agriculture. Teachers from across the state will be selected and supported by the state program for an expense-paid scholarship to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. Teachers from across the nation will gather to learn from skilled presenter, engaging keynote addresses, and most importantly, from each other. 

Included with the scholarship is conference registration and meals, round-trip flight, a double occupancy hotel room, and 20 hours of CTLE Professional Development. Scholarship applications are due Friday, April 5, 2019.  For more information about the scholarship and the application, visit our  website 

Three New York Teachers Recognized with White-Reinhardt Educator Scholarships
T he American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has recognized 15 educators for their exceptional efforts to encourage agricultural literacy. Christina Cassel from Southampton Intermediate School, Stephanie Locke from DeRuyter Central School, and Sarah McArdle from Berne Know Westerlo Elementary are three of the recipients of this award. 

Christina, Stephanie, and Sarah will each receive $1,500 scholarships to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. The conference helps educators from across the nation learn how to incorporate real-life agricultural applications into science, social studies, language arts, math and nutrition lessons. Scholarship recipients were judged on their past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture as well as plans to implement information gained at the NAITC conference in their own lesson plans and share the information with other teachers and volunteer educators. View the full press release here
Congratulations Christina, Stephanie, and Sarah!
Top Cut: A Beef Contest Winners Announced
Heart Healthy Beef Chili and Mutt Mash, a premium dog food, were the Middle School and High School division winners of the second Top Cut Beef Contest!  Congratulations to Mount Markham Middle School and OCM BOCES on their outstanding submissions! To see their projects and other impressive entries, visit our  website

Over 50 submissions were reviewed by our panel of judges who were impressed with the quality of worked students put forth.  Peter Lehning, co-owner of Lehning Farms in Honeoye Falls said of his judging experience, "As a small beef farmer it was great to see the innovative and creative manners in which the Top Cut entries used beef in such diverse manners and I especially enjoyed their unique marketing ideas."

This contest is made possible through a partnership with the New York Beef Council. View the winning projects on our website

Power Up Your Body Challenge
Challenge your students to design a campaign to teach their peers about the importance of building healthy bones, brains and habits!
Finalists will showcase their campaigns at Liberty Science Center May 5, 2019. This challenge is open to middle school students in the NYC metro area. For more information and to sign up, visit Cabot Creamery Cooperative's website . Entries are due March 8, 2019

Serve Up Change with FoodCorps
Do you want to serve your community by growing healthier kids, healthier schools, and a more just world? FoodCorps is looking for people like you! As a FoodCorps service member, you can help kids learn what healthy food is, fall in love with it, and eat it every day.FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of full time paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. 
Applications are open January 11th- March 15th to become a FoodCorps service member. 

Into the Woods: Forestry Training
In partnership with the NYS Wood Products Development Council, The Oswegatchie Educational Center is offering an intense 3 day / 2 night program at their facility in Croghan, New York. Workshops will include timber cruising, sawmill operation, chainsaw safety, arboriculture, and wood product marketing. Team building and leadership skills will also be included.  The program is open to students between the ages of 14 and 18. Find out more about this March 31-April 2 event here

Purple Plow Pollination Challenge
The Spring 2019 Purple Plow Challenge is "  What can we do to sustain or improve pollinator well-being?"  Through this challenge, students will become more aware of the important role pollinators play in our daily lives and how to help protect the various populations. This challenge is for students in grades 5-12 and ends May 1, 2019. Find out more on accept the challenge on their website
Agricultural Literacy Grant Spotlight
Mollie Burgett- Middleburgh Junior/Senior High School
"Life Lessons"
With the Agricultural Literacy Grant from New York Agriculture in the Classroom, Middleburgh Junior/Senior High School science teacher Mollie Burgett will incorporate agricultural curriculum materials in the plant and animal sciences into her Living Environment and AP Environmental Science classes.  The program, Life Lessons, will introduce students to agricultural themes in their core science classes and will reinforce those themes through real-world experiences in the community. 

A goal of the project is to develop seamless pathways from the classroom to college and to the real world. To achieve this, the proposed project will utilize an invaluable local resource: the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill. Ms. Burgett will take approximately 40 students to visit the college's many agricultural facilities, which include a 40,000-gallon, student-run fish hatchery, a 200-cow dairy, 14 greenhouses, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected meat laboratory, and an equine complex. Visiting the college will help students develop interests in non-traditional agricultural subjects, pathways, and careers that connect them to their local community.

Learn more about the Agricultural Literacy Grant and view the other recipients on our website
Teacher Resources
American Dairy Association Virtual Farm Tours
The American Dairy Association North East is inviting teachers to participate in free virtual farm tours in March.  Geared toward elementary and high school students, real-time video chats provide the opportunity to interact live with dairy farmers. The hosts will show how they care for the cows and the land, and how high-quality milk is produced for consumers. 
Tours include: 
March 22 - grades 4-6, hosted by George Andrew of El-VI Farms, LLC, Newark, New York
March 27 - grades 7-12, hosted by Katie Dotterer-Pyle of Cow Comfort Inn, Union Bridge, Maryland
March 29 - grades Pre-K-3, hosted by Nate Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm, Schodack Landing, New York
For more information and to learn about this experience, visit

Elementary Resources
Texturing: The Big Picture
Students will explore soil textures and investigate the connections between soil texture, water, and plant growth. Activities in this lesson include classifying the texture of sandpaper, using the "dirt shake" method to identify differences in soil texture, and observing seed germination in different types of soils. This lesson is best for students in grades Kindergarten-2. 
From Sap to Syrup 
Students will recognize how geography and climate allow for the growth of maple trees and the process of making syrup. They will identify the characteristics of maple trees that produce the best sap for making maple syrup and name the steps in the process of creating syrup from sap. This lesson is a great way to introduce the Schoolyard Sugaring Contest to your students. 
Customary & Metric Food Measurement
Students will use food and farming as a basis for exploring the concepts of estimating and measuring using customary and metric units of measurements. This lesson is best for students in grades 3-5. 

Test Tube Hydroponics 
In this lesson, students will investigate the importance of nutrients for plant growth and discover how plants grow without soil by growing and observing plants in a test tube hydroponic system.

Middle School/ High School Resources
Robots in High-Tech Farming
Students will discover the four main components of robots, explore how robots are used in agriculture, and program and operate a robot to address a farming challenge in this lesson  for grades 6-8. To enhance this lesson, check out "The Farming Robots of Tomorrow Are Here Today" video and the "Fighting weeds: Can we reduce, or even eliminate, herbicides by utilizing robotics and AI?" article from the Genetic Literacy Project. Both of these resources provide a look at farming robotics. 

Clothes on the Grow
In this lesson for grades 6-8, students will gain a broad understanding of the types and sources of different fibers, examining their origins and observing their differences. Activities in this lesson include examining clothing and clothing labels and observing how different types of fabrics burn. 
Nutrition Across the Lifespan
Students will trace the energy and nutrition requirements of the human lifecycle from beginning to end and identify the physical and cognitive growth happening in each phase of life. This lesson is best for students in grades 9-12. 

Silky Genes
Students will simulate the process of gene splicing, understand the application of transgenic organisms in agriculture, and see how goats can be used for the production of goods other than meat and milk through the use of biotechnology in this lesson.
October Book Nook
Sugarbush Spring
In the month of the Maple Sugar Moon, the snow's too wet for angel making, icicles rain from Grandpa's porch roof, and something is stirring in the woods. It's sugarbush spring--time to tap the trees, prepare the bottles, then gather round the cook fire to eat chicken and dumplings, roast marshmallows, and tell stories while the cold sap heats through, thickens, and boils to make syrup. Marsha Wilson  Chall's timeless story and Jim Daly's glowing paintings invite children to share in the pleasure of making maple syrup.

Daisy Comes Home
This is the story of of six hens in China. Cared for by the young Mei Mei, the hens lay eggs for selling at the market. But one hen, Daisy, is not so happy. Picked at and plucked by the others, she is ousted from the clan and ends up taking a serendipitous adventure. When Mei Mei finally brings her back home, Daisy uses her newly learned skills to stave off the mean hens and gain a rightful spot on the perch. This engaging tale can be used to introduce any lesson involving chickens. 
The Book of Chocolate: The Amazing Story of the World's Favorite Candy
Join science author HP Newquist as he explores chocolate's fascinating history in The Book of Chocolate. Along the way, you'll meet colorful characters like the feathered-serpent god Quentzalcoatl, who gave chocolate trees to the Aztecs; Henri Nestlé, who invented milk chocolate while trying to save the lives of babies who couldn't nurse; and the quarrelsome Mars family, who split into two warring factions, one selling Milky Way, Snickers, and 3 Musketeers, the other Mars Bars and M&M's. From its origin as the sacred, bitter drink of South American rulers to the the familiar candy bars sold by today's multimillion dollar businesses, people everywhere have fallen in love with chocolate, the world's favorite flavor.
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