Thursday, May 25, 2017

@TeachAgPSU Family Helping College of Agricultural Sciences be Inclusive

Dr. MeeCee Baker,
Versant Strategies
A newly started club at Penn State University, Students for Cultivating Change, received a gracious gift last week from an alumna member. MeeCee Baker graduated from Penn State in 1982 (#psuaged82) with a bachelor’s in Agriculture and Extension Education and later earned her doctorate in Agriculture Education also from Penn State. Baker has served as the first woman president of the National Association of Agriculture Educators (www.naae.org), was a faculty member at Penn State and North Carolina State, and worked at Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. She is now the owner of Versant Strategies (versantstrategies.net) which is a firm that works with agriculture, environmental and rural issues where Caleb Wright  (@TheWrightCaleb; #psuaged14) serves as chief operating officer.


Caleb Wright, COO
Versant Strategies
Wright is also Penn State graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Extension Education in 2014. This gift to the college is a tribute to Caleb. In Baker’s words ‘I wanted to honor him, and since he's an active participant in the national Cultivating Change organization, I thought the support of Penn State's affiliated club would be appreciated."

Baker’s gift consists of a $20,000 endowment for students who are enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences and demonstrate advocacy for the LGBTQA community by being an active member of the Students for Cultivating Change club. She also is pledging $1,000 a year for the next five years to support the award, Baker Students for Cultivating Change Award.

Members of Penn State Student's Cultivating Change Club
In her words "It's especially important to me to support students and education, and I encourage others to do the same, no matter what amount.” She is a true advocate for student success as she stated, "I hope this gift lifts up Students for Cultivating Change and lets them know there are alumni and others who recognize they are a vital part of the agricultural industry and revel in their successes." The college is honored and thankful of Dr. Baker’s gift and admires her for advocacy of student inclusion, respect and acceptance in agriculture!

To read more about Baker, Wright and the gift to the college, read the article at the following link http://news.psu.edu/story/468932/2017/05/19/administration/baker-gift-support-college-agricultural-sciences-lgbtqa

Thank you MeeCee and Caleb for investing in the future of Penn State's Cultivating Change student organization! Alumni like you are what make our University so great!


Macy Fisher, Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @macy_fisher
#psuaged18 Cohort Member

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Guest Blog: 5th Annual Domestic Study Away Day Six: "Seeking through Service"


Editor's Note:What is a Domestic Study Away? A Domestic Study Away (DSA) is a non-credit experience that is 100% Student-Developed and Student-led. The Penn State Teach Ag! Society runs where a group of students travel to a State to explore the following:

1. What does #AgEdu look like in other states? How is the total model of school-based agricultural education (Classroom Instruction, Youth Leadership Development <FFA> and Work-based learning <SAE>) uniquely provided?

2. Who are the #AgEdu Stakeholders in the state? Specifically, what agricultural industry is being served?

3. A unique yearly selected professional development topic! For #psuaged2WI, it is "Gender in the Agriculture Industry, Agricultural Classroom and Agricultural Education Profession.

You can virtually-engage with this experience by reading and commenting on the daily blogs and following the experience on Twitter and Facebook with our hashtag #PSUAgEd2WI. We could not complete this transformative learning experience with out the incredible support of our partners including: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund.


This is a series of blogs capturing reflections from each day of the experience by one of the participants. Below is the sixth day reflections of Macy Fisher (@macy_fisher), a member of the #psuaged18 cohort. Macy will be completing her student teaching internship with Ms. Valerie Fry of the Selinsgrove Agriscience Program in Selinsgrove, Pa. The reflection focus is the sixth official day of DSA visiting LaClare Dairy Goat Farm, Bonlander Furs Mink Ranch, an afternoon full of service learning projects and finishing the night at a Wisconsin Supper Club.

Clara Hedrich, retired from #AgEdu after 39 years and
owner of LaClara Farm

On Saturday May 13th, we began our daily adventures at LaClare Dairy Goat Farm which is owned by Larry and Clara Hedrich and four of their children. The farm began in 1978 when they purchased 22 acres to start a small dairy goat herd for their children to show through 4-H. After Larry working in construction and Clara teaching Agriculture Education for 39 years, they decided to stay home and expand their operation. In 1996, they decided to purchase milking machines and in the following years kept adding more and more to their farm. In 2008 was when their very first batch of cheese was created named Evalon. This cheese won LaClare Farms their very first award as the United State Champion Cheese, raising above all other dairy and goat cheese to take the title. Each of their children were given the same opportunity to return to the farm however they had to first receive a college education and then work for someone else for 2 years before they could return home. This is when they had their son, Greg, and three of their daughters, Anna, Jessica, and Kate, all realized that they wanted to come back home and make their farm flourish. In 2012, ground was broke at their current location where they have the milk facility, retail store, and all the equipment to produced their cheeses as well as the holding barn for their milking herd of 900 goats. The head consists of 4 different breeds of goats: Nubians, Alpines, Saanen, Toggenburg. For every 1 cow that a dairy farm milks, it takes 10 dairy goats to milk the equivalency. Before heading to our next destination, Clara left us with some things to reflect on. “Work smart and always be on the cutting edge that way you are known for something but don’t try to come in on your first day of teaching a try to save the world, ease your way into the back door. Ag teachers are unique, we get to do what we teach, how many English teachers have published a book?”

   


As we thought about what Clara had told us, we traveled not far down the road to the Bonlander Furs Mink Ranch. This is a family ran mink ranch that started in 1978. They originally had a chicken operation, however the mink farms in the surrounding areas would have an occasional mink get loose which would travel to the chicken farm in search of food. After catching several of the these wandering minks and talking to other local mink ranchers, the Bonlander’s decided to try their hand at raising minks. This made them the 5th mink farm in an 8 mile radius.


The farm currently has 850 females all of which have just had babies. Minks can have anywhere between 3 and 14 babies! Each mink is kept in its own separate cage with a nesting box for their babies. Babies are born with no hair and are about the size of a pinkie finger; they quickly grow to be chubby, furry babies who can be separated from their mothers after 6 to 8 weeks. The most valuable pelts will be found on minks that are are up to 2 years in age. The pelts are sold on average for $40/pelt at an auction in Canada where most are bought by China to be made into mink coats, jackets, hat and other various clothing. It takes on average 50 male pelts or 90 female pelts just to make one jacket that will be sold for $10,000.00! Minks are also so used for musk and colognes and also water proof oil used on boots and leather. All of us were amazed by this unique industry and learned that Wisconsin is the number one producer of mink in the United States!

In the afternoon, we headed to the local church to start our Service Learning Activities. We started by learning about the Holyland Food Pantry. The church used the empty parsonage building and set up the pantry like a store. Local businesses donated shelving, refrigerators, and freezers as well as many food products. There are also several donation locations where community members can drop off any food that can be used at the pantry. Donations can also be given through the mail carrier. Every house is given a bag that can be filled and then hung on the mailbox which is then brought to the pantry. Local farmers also give ground beef, milk, eggs and butter that families can take. Anyone is welcome to come each month to the “shopping day” where families are given a number and are called one at a time to shop individually. The pantry is always in need of donations, especially bottled water and will always accept a helping hand to volunteer.


We also learned about the Pens for Hens project which was started as by the local FFA members. They used the idea for the National Ag Sales contest where chicken pens would be build in Haiti using the metal and wood scraps that are readily available in the small towns and villages. The idea flourished and now local chapters build their own pens and auction them off. The proceeds are then sent to Haiti for villages to continue to construct pens. 
We also learned from a town carpenter about how to construct a lending library. He taught us the tricks and tips of how to construct these small boxes that serve as a library. The kids in the community can come and take a book to read and return it or any other book back to the library.


The interesting service learning project was the final one of the day where we were helping to restore the cemetery. Some of us were using Ammonia and soapy water to clean old head stones that you could not longer read, while others were helping to unearth fallen headstones that were buried in inches of soil. The stones were the placed in a bed of pebbles and cleaned. Many of us were inspired by this project and knew that we wanted to do the same process at cemeteries back home.

We ended our day by going to a Wisconsin Famous Supper Club. None of us had ever experienced a Supper Club before and were not sure what to expect. This is a long time tradition in Wisconsin and we had to go to one before we left! The Supper Club we attended was Jim and Linda’s Lakeview Supper Club which sits right on the edge of Lake Winnebago. We were able to mingle and converse with many of the people we had met during our week thus far including our superstar hosts who planned our week and connected us with each stop of our DSA trip. After enjoying our meals, some of our group decided to climb the tower that sits outside the Supper Club. From the top, you have an amazing view out over the lake. As the evening came to an end, our group decided to sit and watch the sunset on the lake. We had a time to just sit, think and reflect on how far we had come in the short week. It was a peaceful and relaxing way to end the day.



Day 6 gave us a new outlook on what our students and programs can do for our communities and how to serve others. I stand by the saying of many hand make little work, and today as instilled that in each of us. We all are refreshed and full of bright new ideas of how as an Agriculture Educator we can help our students to become helping hands in the world. We would like to thank everyone who mad our day successful and are grateful of the stories and advice shared with us though out the day!



Macy Fisher
#psuaged18
@macy _ fisher





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guest Blog: 5th Annual Domestic Study Away Day Eight: " Success from State to State"

Editor's Note: What is a Domestic Study Away? A Domestic Study Away (DSA) is a non-credit experience that is 100% Student-Developed and Student-led. The Penn State Teach Ag! Society runs where a group of students travel to a State to explore the following:
  1. What does #AgEdu look like in other states? How is the total model of school-based agricultural education (Classroom Instruction, Youth Leadership Development <FFA> and Work-based learning <SAE>) uniquely provided? 
  2. Who are the #AgEdu Stakeholders in the state? Specifically, what agricultural industry is being served? 
  3. A unique yearly selected professional development topic! For #psuaged2WI, it is "Gender in the Agriculture Industry, Agricultural Classroom and Agricultural Education Profession. 
You can virtually-engage with this experience by reading and commenting on the daily blogs and following the experience on Twitter and Facebook with our hashtag #PSUAgEd2WI. We could not complete this transformative learning experience with out the incredible support of our partners including: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund.

Below is a reflection by George Dietrich (@TheGeorge4H), a member of the #psuaged18 cohort. George is a dual major in Agricultural and Extension Education and Food Science at Penn State, and he will be completing his student teaching internship with Ms. Darla Romberger (@DJR_131) of the Cumberland Valley Agriscience Program (@CV_Agrisciences) in Mechanicsburg, PA. The reflection focus is the eighth and final official day of the Domestic Study Away.

Our morning started bright and early in the state of Wisconsin where we loaded the van and headed to visit Big Foot High School in Walworth, Wisconsin. Here we had a chance to visit with #PSUAgEd14 Alumni Jeanne Case (@J_Case) and the rest of Big Foot's Agricultural Education team! Immediately we paired up with students in her class, went out to the green house, and learned about their current lab. Each student was able to choose what and how they would conduct their research project, as long as it met certain criteria. Talk about student ownership!

We also had the chance to talk with Ms. Case and Ms. Konke about their experiences teaching. The Big Foot Agriscience program is very strong and teaches students a variety of technical science skills along with critical thinking skills that comes from inquiry based learning. It was impressive that these students were already gaining experience with micropipettes and electrophoresis units. Non traditional SAE projects were also prevalent at Big Foot. In fact, one student was researching a way to bind certain proteins in peanuts so people with peanut allergies can eat them!

After saying goodbye to Jeanne at Big Foot High School, we headed on down the road to Pontiac Township High School in Illinois to visit Mr. Parker Bane (@ParkerBane) and Mr. Jesse Faber (@therealjfaber). We had a very productive discussion on plans after high school with his senior landscaping class, and then led some fun leadership activities with his Intro to Ag class. The entire school was having an assembly that day, so we got to go and watch student be recognized for all of their had work and accomplishments. It was really nice to see, wouldn't it be great if all schools took the time to thank their students?

Following the assembly and a tasty ice cream treat, we had the chance to talk to Parker and Jesse about the joys and struggles of being a multi teacher program. We discussed a plethora of topics and it was really nice to have an open, honest conversation. To be a good teacher, it's all about the relationships you build with your students (can someone say van ride memories?).

Jesse took us out to Mackinson Dairy Farm to meet with his wife, Mary. Mary is a Controller of a local cooperative and also manages her family farm's social media presence. We learned about how important it is to maintain a professional presence as an agricultural advocate on social media. Mary did a great job connecting her knowledge of social media back to how we can implement and manage a social media presence for an Agricultural Education program!

Guest Blog: 5th Annual Domestic Study Away Reflection: “A Journey of Growth and Cheese Curds”

Editor's Note:
What is a Domestic Study Away? A Domestic Study Away (DSA) is a non-credit experience that is 100% Student-Developed and Student-led. The Penn State Teach Ag! Society runs where a group of students travel to a State to explore the following:
  1. What does #AgEdu look like in other states? How is the total model of school-based agricultural education (Classroom Instruction, Youth Leadership Development <FFA> and Work-based learning <SAE>) uniquely provided? 
  2. Who are the #AgEdu Stakeholders in the state? Specifically, what agricultural industry is being served? 
  3. A unique yearly selected professional development topic! For #psuaged2WI, it is "Gender in the Agriculture Industry, Agricultural Classroom and Agricultural Education Profession".
You can virtually engage with this experience by reading and commenting on the daily blogs and following the experience on Twitter and Facebook with our hashtag #PSUAgEd2WI. We could not complete this transformative learning experience without the incredible support of our partners including: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund.

This is a series of blogs capturing reflections from each day of the experience by one of the participants. The goal is to post the daily reflection 24 hours after completion of activity. Below is the final reflection prepared by Rosalind Cowan (@cowan_rosalind), a member of the #psuaged18 cohort and the 2017 Domestic Study Away Chair.

As I sit on campus in Happy Valley, my mind and heart are just overflowing with newfound knowledge and gratitude. For the past 9 days, we have been traveling all over the state of Wisconsin engaging with rock star Ag Ed programs and agriculture industry partners. We grew both personally and professionally as we explored our professional development focus of Gender in the agriculture industry, secondary Agricultural Education programs, and the Agricultural Education profession. It has been a whirlwind of a trip, but I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this year’s Domestic Study Away to Wisconsin has been full of inspiration, new friends, impactful growth, and last but not least, a ton of cheese curds.

#PSUAgEd2WI Fast Facts!

1. 9 days

2. 8 students (7 students from #psuaged18, 1 student from #psuaged19)

3. 1 van

4. 6 states (PA, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN)

We reached America's Dairyland
5. 8 primary/secondary Agricultural Education Programs: East Tech HS, Holmen HS, New Richmond HS, School for Agricultural and Environmental Studies, Randolph HS, Kewaskum HS, Big Foot Union HS, and Pontiac Township HS.

6. 11 Teach Ag Stars with OVER 220 YEARS OF COMBINED TEACH AG EXPERIENCE: Jeremy Grove, Roger King, Rachel Sauvola, Sheri Hicken, Keith Gundlach, Dave Rizzardi, Jeanne Case, Lori Schmitz, Jesse Faber, Parker Bane, and Linda Sattler.

7. 10 Ag Ed Related Partners: University Wisconsin – River Falls, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Madison College, Holyland Food Pantry, St. Paul's Church, Pens for Hens, iCEV, Stewart-Peterson AgEd.net, Wisconsin FFA Foundation, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

8. 11 Industry Partners: Wetherby Cranberry Co., Accelerated Genetics, Foremost Farms, Culver’s, Jung Seed, Mackinson Dairy, LaClare Farms, Bluestream Bison Farm, Second Look Holsteins, and Bonlander Furs Mink Ranch.

While reflecting on our adventures and reflections we had each day, I am overwhelmed by how much we experienced and learned. The impact of this year’s Domestic Study Away extends far beyond the opportunity to experience Agricultural Education and the agriculture industry in another state. Take a look at our other blogs from this week to gain even more insight on our day-to-day experiences. Overall, here are four important themes from this year’s Domestic Study Away that will hopefully help you understand the power of #PSUAgEd2WI.

Four Important Take Aways from #PSUAgEd2WI

1. Ag Ed is for EVERYONE, and as teachers, we are responsible for creating that culture and environment for our students. 
Learning about urban culture at East Tech HS
Whether we are talking about gender, race, or religion, we learned on this trip that the Agricultural Education teacher plays a central role in developing and maintaining a learning environment that is welcoming and supportive to all. At East Tech FFA with Jeremy Grove and his students, we learned about cultural differences and how to make FFA cool for everyone! One quote really stuck out when discussing minority and urban populations in FFA: “Instead of trying to always immerse us in your culture, immerse yourself in ours”.

Discussing gender in Ag during our LGBTQ Panel
Then, at Madison College, we had the chance to have a respectful, honest, and insightful panel discussion with five LGBTQ+ individuals. They volunteered their time to come and discuss their experiences being an LGBTQ+ individual, both in their careers in the agriculture industry and their experiences in secondary classrooms. We learned the importance of recognizing all students as individuals, not tolerating any derogatory comments between students, and not gender labeling activities (such as having only boys do jobs that involve lifting). Here are some wise non-negotiable rules for our future classrooms: “As a student, you can’t: Risk Lives, Risk Grades, or Risk self-esteem/self-worth”.

2. Community is INVALUABLE, just ASK.
Culver's supports agriculture and local FFA chapters
As new and upcoming teachers, I think sometimes we feel like we have to do it all, whether it is because we feel like we have something to prove or aren’t sure how to get help. However, there is simply no reason to feel this way! Every teacher we visited told us how they created relationships and engaged their community around the Ag Ed program: Be INVOLVED both in and outside of the Ag Ed program and JUST ASK. A secondary Agricultural Educator only has so much time and energy, which is where community involvement plays a huge role. We got to meet with community members and FFA Alumni chapters at many of the programs we visited, as well as engage with Ag Ed related partners, and it was both inspiring and touching to see the relationships between the Ag teacher and their community. 

3. Student Ownership, Student Voice, and Autonomy are Key to Student Success 
Students rock their lesson at their Food for America event
From the beginning to the very end of our trip, we witnessed the value of students having ownership in their work at every place we visited. We learned the importance of each student having a niche or area within the program that they managed, instead of being involved with everything. This way, students made these projects or events their own and took pride in the work that they did. In the classroom, learning was inquiry based and promoted intrinsic motivation as well as confidence. We even got to try our hand at facilitating an inquiry based lesson! It was a great opportunity and we gained a lot from the students’ feedback.

We even got to experience the benefits of giving students ownership personally. We participated in service learning by helping Lori Schmitz and her husband restore and clean headstones at a local cemetery. Lori was an excellent educator; her passion combined with giving us ownership in the work that we accomplished made us passionate and excited about the work we were doing. 

4. #TeachAg is one big Family 
Learning how to clean and restore a cemetery
There are no words to express just how thankful we are for everyone we met and engaged with in WI. It seemed like the whole state welcomed us all week long! The kindness and hospitality we experienced throughout our trip was out-of-this-world and we enjoyed being able to get to know everyone. Windshield time turned into an opportunity for participants to talk one-on-one with our hosts for each day, and I know that we all made connections that will last much longer than those 9 days we were in WI.

Hanging out with our Ag Ed friends at UW River Falls!



Last but not least are the close bonds that you form with your fellow Ag Ed majors when you spend 9 days straight together in hotels and 1 van. You grow, learn, and laugh together, and by the end of the trip you feel like family. DSA helps you realize how thankful you are to have each and every participant be part of your #TeachAg journey.







Ag Ed students who travel together, stay together



Our 5th annual DSA trip to Wisconsin was definitely one to be remembered. Once again, thank you to all of our partners for helping make this trip such a success: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund. The future of Agricultural Education is bright! 

If you are interested in partnering with us in 2018, or would like to be considered as a 2019 destination, please contact me at rvc5334@psu.edu or our advisor, Dr. Daniel Foster at foster@psu.edu

TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR #PSUAGED2WI ADVENTURES, SEE:
CHECK OUT OUR #PSUAGED2WI PLAYLIST (20+ awesome videos)!








Rosalind Cowan

2018 Student Teacher

@cowan_rosalind

Guest Blog: 5th Annual Domestic Study Away: Day Seven - "Meet the Miller's"

Editor's Note:
What is a Domestic Study Away? A Domestic Study Away (DSA) is a non-credit experience that is 100% Student-Developed and Student-led. The Penn State Teach Ag! Society runs where a group of students travel to a State to explore the following: 
  1. What does #AgEdu look like in other states? How is the total model of school-based agricultural education (Classroom Instruction, Youth Leadership Development <FFA> and Work-based learning <SAE>) uniquely provided? 
  2. Who are the #AgEdu Stakeholders in the state? Specifically, what agricultural industry is being served? 
  3. A unique yearly selected professional development topic! For #psuaged2WI, it is "Gender in the Agriculture Industry, Agricultural Classroom and Agricultural Education Profession. 
You can virtually-engage with this experience by reading and commenting on the daily blogs and following the experience on Twitter and Facebook with our hashtag #PSUAgEd2WI. We could not complete this transformative learning experience with out the incredible support of our partners including: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund.

This is a series of blogs capturing reflections from each day of the experience by one of the participants. The goal is to post the daily reflection 24 hours after completion of activity. Below is the seventh day reflection of Katie Smith (@KatieLady1995), a member of the #psuaged18 cohort with an interest in Wildlife and Ag Mechanics. Katie will be completing her student teaching internship with Mr. Anthony Honeycutt of the Albion Agriscience Program in Erie, Pa. The reflection focus is the seventh official day of DSA in Madison, Wisconsin visiting Dr. Foster's in-laws, having an adventure in Madison, and stopping in to visit a 2017 Grad of the AEE Major, Kayla Hack, a native of Wisconsin. 
The Flavor of the Day!

Good morning, afternoon, or evening! Have you missed us! The Teach Ag Society and I appreciate your patience. Our beautiful lakeside cottage where we've been spending the past three nights lacked wifi, which is great for some technology disconnection, but not so great when we're trying to share our story with all of you! So let's catch ya up to speed with Day 7 of our Wisconsin story. 

We finally got to Culver's!! We met up with Dr. Foster's in-laws at there home and after debating which Culver's to go to (because it's very important to know the flavor of the day) we choose the Middleton Culver's, which was serving Turtle custard. We all sat down in the patio, enjoying our Butterburgers, Cheese curds, and custard. It was very delicious! (Anyone wanna join the Foster Franchise?!?)

Culver's is a great #AgEdu and #Ag Partner!
Next the In-laws took us on a little tour of University of Wisconsin-Madison. We viewed  Lake Mendota where the Millers pointed out Picnic Island, a popular get away for students. Then we entered Downtown Madison, where they showed us the beautiful lakeside terrace, which is known for the famous colored chairs. The metal chairs are painted 3 distinct colors; orange, yellow, and green. The orange represents Allis-Chalmers and the yellow/green is for non other then John Deere (I know, I know, I'd prefer some red chairs too). 




Then of course, what does the 78% Female Teach Ag group wish to do? We hit the shops down State Street. State Street is unique. The Capitol and the University of Wisconsin Administration building are in direct eye shot of each other. The buildings "watch" each other, and nothing may disrupt there line of sight. Protecting the balance of government and education.
The Squad on the Lake!
Katie Smith checking out
the chairs!
















Then it was back to the Millers, where some R & R was finally taking place. Until some competitive games of corn hole ensued (also colored green and yellow, go figure...but for the PACKERS). They fed us a delightful dinner of brats, fruit salad, sauerkraut, and potato salad; with a fruit trifle to boot. With full bellies, we socialized for a while more, then made our way to Ms. Kayla Hack.

Our time spent with Kayla was brief, but fun non the less. After making a little more space to enjoy Kayla's delicious strawberry rhubarb pie or pecan pie, we made our way to the patio. There we sought advice from Kayla about how she pursued through her senior year. Her words of wisdom and encouragement will stick with us as we barrel head on into our senior year. 


TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR #PSUAGED2WI ADVENTURES, SEE:

Guest Blog: 5th Annual Domestic Study Away Day 5: "Community is Key to Success"

Editor's Note:
What is a Domestic Study Away? A Domestic Study Away (DSA) is a non-credit experience that is 100% Student-Developed and Student-led. The Penn State Teach Ag! Society runs where a group of students travel to a State to explore the following:
  1. What does #AgEdu look like in other states? How is the total model of school-based agricultural education (Classroom Instruction, Youth Leadership Development <FFA> and Work-based learning <SAE>) uniquely provided? 
  2. Who are the #AgEdu Stakeholders in the state? Specifically, what agricultural industry is being served? 
  3. A unique yearly selected professional development topic! For #psuaged2WI, it is "Gender in the Agriculture Industry, Agricultural Classroom and Agricultural Education Profession. 
You can virtually-engage with this experience by reading and commenting on the daily blogs and following the experience on Twitter and Facebook with our hashtag #PSUAgEd2WI. We could not complete this transformative learning experience with out the incredible support of our partners including: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund.

Below is the fifth day reflection of Michala Kuhlman (@kuhlman_m40), a member of the #psuaged18 Agricultural and Extension Education cohort.  Michala will be completing her student teaching internship with Mr. Curt Turner of the Central Columbia Agriscience Program in Bloomsburg, PA. The reflection focus is on the fifth official day of DSA at the School for Agriculture and Environmental Studies (SAGES), Randolph High School (RCFFA), Jung Seed Company, and visited Bluestem Bison Farm.


First Grade SAGES students showing us
their chicken project.
We began the day with a refreshing look at agricultural education in the view of an elementary school student. The School for Agriculture and Environmental Studies (SAGES) is located in Fox Lake, Wisconsin and is a public elementary charter school. Students from the first, second, and sixth grade each spent some time with us sharing some of their proudest accomplishments from the past school year. First grade students participated in a chicken project where they received a grant to fund the development of a chicken coop. Students kept journals on what they learned each day about the chickens including: the anatomy of an egg, various breeds of chickens, as well as how to properly care for their chickens. Second grade brought geometry to the agricultural classroom as they mapped out barn quilts. Each student created their own design for a barn quilt, the student body as a whole voted on the winning quilt square, to be auctioned off at the school fundraiser. The sixth grade completed the plastic bag challenge, collecting a total of 1,556 pounds of plastic films. Mrs. Sheri Hicken said it best, "little kids can do big things." Check out what other great things SAGES elementary charter school is doing!


Students in the Randolph Cambria- Friesland
agricultural program have access to a land lab
that was donated to the program. 
Next we headed to the infamous Randolph Cambria Friesland FFA Chapter (@RCFFA). Keith Gundlach, better known as Sir has been teaching at the Randolph High School since 1977. He has taught numerous family generations throughout those 40 years. The agriculture program is comprised of students from both Randolph and Friesland High Schools. Since 1992 the chapter has over 200 American Degree recipients, of those 9 were American Star Finalists, as well as over 60 National Proficiency Finalists. Currently the program is investigating genetics in rat populations to isolate the hairless gene. In combination with SAE grants students are developing ways to give back to the community using the programs land lab. 

We have heard numerous times throughout the trip that an FFA chapter will not survive without the support of the local community, Randolph Cambria Friesland FFA looks to Jung Seed as a supporter of their program. Jung Seed is rich in family heritage, starting in 1907 John William "JW" Jung started printing seed catalogs with a small hand press, laying the foundation for the company today. The company has grown to distribute eight different seed catalogs, totaling over 8 million catalogs a year, as well as open multiple Jung Garden Centers. The company employs many FFA members and will soon be selling an FFA members metal art work in the garden centers.

The buffalo herd is on rational grazing.
Here you see them in one of their pastures
with some of the new born calves.  
The Bluestem Bison Farm located in Mt. Calvary, WI, hosted us for dinner. Patrick and Rebecca Reiss have been raising bison for meat production for 13 years. Their herd has grown to about 75 head of grass fed bison. We had the opportunity to take a ride out to visit the herd. We learned that bison farming is hands off and many of the operating procedures are done naturally. All breeding is done naturally using the herd bull "Steve." We also learned that sheep are detrimental to Bison herd's as they are carries of a disease that can wipe out an entire Bison herd. We ended the night enjoying bison burgers and good fellowship.

Day 5 gave us new perspectives on our individual teaching philosophy's , and how to utilize the local community. The community is vital to having a successful agricultural education program. We are thankful to everyone who made our day so successful. We are immensely grateful for all the advice we received throughout the day. 

TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR #PSUAGED2WI ADVENTURES, SEE:


                                                                                                                 Michala Kuhlman
                                                                                                                 #psuaged18
                                                                                                                 @kuhlman_m40

The 81st Annual Ag Ed Banquet: Celebrating #studentsuccess

Pennsylvania FFA State Treasurer Maddy Buss


On Tuesday April 25th Penn State Collegiate FFA, Teach Ag! Society, and Alpha Tau Alpha hosted the 81st Annual Ag Ed Banquet. The program featured greetings from Madeline Buss on behalf of the Pennsylvania FFA Assocation.




Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding




Keynote speaker,  Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture, Russel Reading  talked about the importance of agricultural education and it's role in continuing to educate and feed the ever growing population.







To culminate another successful year of student achievements and organizational milestone, awards were presented to Collegiate FFA, Teach Ag! Society, and ATA members. Check out the night's award reciepients:

Collegiate FFA Awards
Outstanding Members-



Honorary Member- Terra Ingram
      
  
Graduating CFFA members

Teach Ag! Society Awards




2017 Teacher Candidates


2018 Student Teachers



Congratulations to all award recipients!  2016-2017 proved to be another successful year.  We are excited to see what the next year brings!








Monday, May 15, 2017

Guest Blog: 5th Annual Domestic Study Away Day Four: "Cultivating Knowledge, Connections, and Inclusion"

Editor's Note:
What is a Domestic Study Away? A Domestic Study Away (DSA) is a non-credit experience that is 100% Student-Developed and Student-led. The Penn State Teach Ag! Society runs where a group of students travel to a State to explore the following: 
  1. What does #AgEdu look like in other states? How is the total model of school-based agricultural education (Classroom Instruction, Youth Leadership Development <FFA> and Work-based learning <SAE>) uniquely provided? 
  2. Who are the #AgEdu Stakeholders in the state? Specifically, what agricultural industry is being served? 
  3. A unique yearly selected professional development topic! For #psuaged2WI, it is "Gender in the Agriculture Industry, Agricultural Classroom and Agricultural Education Profession. 
You can virtually-engage with this experience by reading and commenting on the daily blogs and following the experience on Twitter and Facebook with our hashtag #PSUAgEd2WI. We could not complete this transformative learning experience with out the incredible support of our partners including: The Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators, The Wisconsin Team Ag Ed, The Penn State Center for Professional and Personnel Development and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Student Activities Fund.

This is a series of blogs capturing reflections from each day of the experience by one of the participants. The goal is to post the daily reflection 24 hours after completion of activity. Below is the fourth day reflection prepared by Allyson Balmer (@allyson_balmer), a member of the #psuaged18 cohort. The reflection focus is on the fourth official day of DSA in Sauk City visiting the Culver's Headquarters, Wollersheim Winery and Distillery, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, an LGBTQ Perspectives in Agriculture Panel at Madison Area Technical College, and attending the Kewaskum FFA Banquet. 

On Thursday, May 11th, Penn State Teach Ag had the opportunity to visit the Culver’s Headquarters, Wollersheim Winery, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and LGBTQ Perspectives of Agriculture Panel, and the Kewaskum FFA banquet. It was an incredible day filled with eye-opening experiences, new knowledge, and a re-energizing of our passions for agriculture.
The "Thank You Farmers" campaign was
started by Culver's and is dedicated to
promoting agriculture and appreciating
farmers. 

In the morning, we began our day’s adventure at the Culver’s Headquarters where we met the CEO, were given a tour of their facilities, and learned how they support agriculture. Culver’s is an incredible supporter of Wisconsin agriculture, FFA, and farmers. Whether it is sharing the story of how cheese curds are made from the grower to the guest or financially supporting FFA chapters, Culver’s is a true friend of agriculture. Additionally, they support the National FFA Convention and the Dairy Foods CDE. Penn State Teach Ag! learned so much from Culver’s about seeking supporters of our future chapters. Whether we ask a different food restaurant to partner with us in a fundraiser or have them promote agriculture, we have to be willing to ask, accept rejection, change our proposal, and ask again. 


This is the aging cave for the wine
at Wollersheim Winery. 
Upon departing 
Culver’s, we made a very quick and impromptu stop at the Wollersheim Winery and Distillery where we were given a short tour of the vineyard, fermentation vats, and the aging caves. What was really neat about this experience was the fact that the owner, Philippe Conquard was a former FFA member who came to the USA on an agricultural exchange program, married into the winery business, and is now the wine maker. This is just one more story of how the FFA can take a person to incredible places and change their life. 







Pictures of Wisconsin FFA Advisor Jeff Hicken and other
Farm Bureau members and officers during out visit. 
After our incredibly quick trip to Wollersheim Winery, we went to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and had the opportunity to interact with the current president and other integral individuals to the bureau. Here, the group was able to learn a lot about how to incorporate our state Farm Bureau into our future agriculture classrooms and FFA. 




Some ways we could do this is by inviting
Farm Bureau members to the FFA banquet or having them serve as judges for CDE competitions or at the county fair. Nonetheless, it is an opportunity for us to learn that we need to involve these organizations in our agriculture programs because they can provide resources, financial assistance, and expertise of different aspects of the organizations. 



Madison Area Technical College
The next item on our itinerary was attending an LGBTQ Perspectives in Agriculture panel discussion at the Madison Area Technical College. At this discussion, five panelists volunteered their time to comes and discuss with us how LGBTQ individuals are perceived in the agricultural industry. This event was incredibly impactful because of the really great feedback we received on how to make our classrooms inclusive for every student. This feedback ranged from making sure our students do not use derogatory terms in our classroom, putting up a sign that all students are welcome, and trying not to label certain assumed male and female activities as such. This was really important for us to hear because, as future agricultural educators, we have to be dedicated to help every student reach their highest potential and to achieve all that they set their minds to. It is imperative to be inclusive of all, to not tolerate discrimination, and to be a good role model for other students to follow. 

Picture of our panelists for the LGBTQ Perspectives
in Agriculture discussion





Day 4 was filled with a lot of learning, networking with industry professionals, and finding new tactics on how to better manage our classroom. All are immensely important to the success of our program, the students, and the advancement of agriculture education in the high school setting. 

Make sure to look out for the Day 4 video by Katie Smith (@kadylady1995) and keep following us at the #psuaged2WI

TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR #PSUAGED2WI ADVENTURES, SEE:


Allyson Balmer

2018 Student-Teaching Cohort 
@allyson_balmer