Rider, Lee, join farm tours for Ag in the Classroom

Published 12:35 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Alabama Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Summer Institute recently took nearly 100 educators on a tour of Alabama farms

The tours were part of an effort to bring new and exciting ways of teaching Agriculture and 4H to students across the state.

Covington County Extension Agents Catherine Rider and Katie Lee were a part of the tour. Rider said she felt that it not only gave educators new ways of teaching, but also solidified a network of resources across the state for the various schools.

“There is an entire network of resources for ag out there,” Rider said. “Sometimes we get into our day-to-day stuff and feel a little isolated, but there are so many resources to use and so many ways to present ag to kids.”

Rider said that one of their motivators was looking for new ways to make 4H and ag fun for students while also teaching them and giving the raising awareness of career choices.

“The biggest purpose was to learn new curriculum and different techniques to help get kids familiar with ag without being boring,” she said. “We want to get them more involved with ag in general and to even help them look at some careers. When people think of ag careers they may think it’s just farming, but really we’re also engineers, scientists and researches. It’s all part of the ag world.”

Attendees of the AITC Summer Institute Tour got a chance to tour Hale County’s Drury Catfish Farm, Acker Cattle Company and the Greensboro Opera House along with Tuscaloosa’s Row Crop Farm and Children’s Hands-On Museum.

The attendees also sat in on a panel discussion with various farmers from the Hale County and Tuscaloosa area.

“The panel talked to us about what kinds of things they would like kids to know about farming and ag,” she said. “We were also given a lot of resources provided by several different farm associations in the state.”

Rider said that the Covington County Extension is already working on implementing new ways of teaching for next school year.

“There are so many ways to present ag to kids that make it where it’s educational but also fun and connects the kids to the land,” Rider said. “I don’t think very many kids get that connection so its nice to have a whole group of people that are trying to get kids to understand it.”

Rider said that would she recommend the AITC’s tour to any and all educators.

“I really, really enjoyed it,” she said. “We are really excited to have more fun things to use for our Ag and 4H classes.”