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

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


Allyson Balmer

2018 Student-Teaching Cohort 

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts on partnering with stakeholders and making sure all students are provided with an environment where they feel safe and wanted.