State Summary 2017 — Georgia
2018 High School Art Contest Calendar: The 2018 calendar features the 10 district winner and two honorable mentions, national commodity months, and a recipe which can be done in the classroom. It is available for purchase and on the GFB Foundation for Agriculture website. http://www.gfbfoundation.org/aitc.html Specialty Crops AgMag: The AgMag is a component of the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant. The 16-page magazine is available for purchase and is on the GFB Foundation for Agriculture Website. It includes a handout with answer keys, match to state standards by the field test teachers, and extended activities. http://www.gfbfoundation.org/aitc.html
Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs
2017 Educator Workshop & Farm Experience teacher training
- Sponsored and coordinated through the county Farm Bureau
- Seven Workshops – 171 teachers – 64 schools
Annual Educational Leadership Conference – one day event
- Sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Committee
- More than 225 volunteers and teachers attended the one day event
- Keynote: Dr. David Mouser, who presented a keynote at the 2017 National AITC Conference kicked off the conference with his keynote "Focus on Impact: Teaching the Lessons That Matter."
- Workshop: Marla Garnto, the 2016 Georgia Ag in the Classroom Educator of the Year.
- Workshop: Members of the Women’s Leadership Committee, activities with book "First Peas to the Table"
- Workshop: Michele Reedy, North Carolina AITC State Contact, presented the workshop "STEM or STEAM: What's the Big Deal?"
County Farm Bureaus are our greatest asset for agricultural literacy as they visit classrooms using the resources developed for Georgia AITC, provide through special promotions, and from attending the National Ag in the Classroom Conference. They read books, build school gardens, do activities with the children, and provide resources for teachers. They conduct the high school art contest and the middle essay contest. Library Project – GFB Foundation for Agriculture
- 400+ Georgia public libraries
- 2017 Book: "Sleep Tight, Farm"
Specialty Crops Block Grant – Completed Components
- Teacher Tour: Six elementary teachers, three middle school, and three high school teachers. The tour included an agriculture orientation, three full days of touring commercial vegetable and fruit farms, agricultural research station, and classroom time to work on their lesson submissions. Eleven of the teachers submitted two lesson plans which will be available on-line and used in the Educator Workshops.
- Specialty Crops AgMag: It was field tested by students and teachers in grades 3-5 in the spring. In response to student feedback, we expanded the magazine to 16 pages to add more activities and information. The magazine is available for purchase in print and on-line at http://www.gfbfoundation.org/agmag/default.html The answer key section was expanded to include additional activities and state standard matches and how the magazine was used by the field test teachers.
Middle School Essay Contest:
- The Middle School Essay Contest was not officially part of the Specialty Crops Grant, but it focused on Specialty Crops to provide feedback on what students are thinking. 2017 Essay Contest Topic was "The Importance of Georgia's Specialty Crops."
- The contest is tied to state standards for language arts.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
The largest impact comes from our county Farm Bureaus who spend countless people-hours doing classroom presentations, middle school essay contest, high school art contest, conducting Farm Days at Schools and on farms, providing educational materials, and assisting with school projects. They deliver the books to the public libraries through the GFB Foundation Library Project. With 159 counties, GFB volunteers reach about 60,000 students each year.
County Farm Bureaus are also committed to sending key teachers to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference. In 2017, we had 20 people from Georgia attend the conference. They all came back ready to begin or expand their ag literacy programs.
Marla Garnto, our 2016 Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, was also named as a 2017 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award winner. Volunteer Carol Baker-Dunn was named as the 2017 Agriculture Advocate award recipient.
The one-day Educator Workshop/Farm Experience reached 171 teachers in 2017. 100% indicated they would use the resources they received in the classroom. These teachers have the potential to reach more than 5,000 students each year. Because the workshops are sponsored by the county Farm Bureau, it has also developed or enhanced the school/Farm Bureau partnership resulting in visits to the classroom and assistance with projects such as school gardens. One of the most successful partnerships is Hall County Farm Bureau who have developed the Hall Grows program. Their partnership with Hall County Schools has resulted in full workshops each year with more on schedule. Hall County is the center of the poultry industry but it is also a growing bedroom community for metro Atlanta. They will be presenting their program at the National AITC Conference in 2018.
As an optional part of the 2017 essay contest, the counties were encouraged to have the students participate in a survey in connection to the Specialty Crops Blocks Grant received from USDA in the fall. Responses were received from 1,249 students: 392 6th graders, 297 7th graders, and 560 8th graders. We will include a similar survey with the Specialty Crops AgMag.
Donna Hellwig Rocker has been with Georgia Farm Bureau since 1986, primarily coordinating the Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom program. In 1999, the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee was added to her responsibilities. Since 1999, the Women’s Leadership Committee primarily focuses on youth education and agricultural literacy. Her responsibilities include materials development and teacher training.
She serves on the Farm to School Alliance and the Centennial Farm Committee.
Donna received an associate’s degree from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and a B.A. in Psychology from Georgia College & State University. She received her Masters in Adult Education from The University of Georgia in 2012.
She was part of the team to develop the team to develop the AITC Consortium and has served as a regional representative and secretary for that organization.