This red pail contains all the tools to teach an agriculture lesson. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)
By Carrie Muehling
CHICAGO - The Livingston County Farm Bureau is a national winner for an agriculture literacy project.
Ag Literacy Coordinator Debbie Ruff came up with the idea for "Project P.A.I.L" (Promoting Agriculture in Literacy). Volunteers took red pails filled with teaching materials related to agriculture into second grade classrooms in the county throughout the month of March in conjunction with National Agriculture Month.
They read a book and did a matching game with seeds. They also helped students make a "kernel kid" by putting a seed in a small plastic bag with a moistened cotton ball. Students then hung the bag around their necks so the seed was germinated by the warmth of their bodies.
Volunteers reached 75 percent of the second graders in Livingston County and also taught local FFA members how to do the lessons, as well. The bright red pails contained everything volunteers needed to teach the lesson and do the activities, as well as an activity booklet for the students to take home.
"It's very portable and the red pail matches our Project Pail - promoting agriculture in literacy," said Teresa Grant-Quick, manager of the Livingston County Farm Bureau.
The project is one of three national winners from Illinois, and it will be on display next month during the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting in Nashville. Grant-Quick said they are excited to continue the program next year.
"She's got some other spin offs of this on apples and turkeys and pumpkins so you can do the same sort of thing but just different commodities," said Grant-Quick.
Project P.A.I.L. presenters also promoted the National Association of Conservation Districts' Stewardship Week poster contest as a follow-up to the presentation. In addition, Project P.A.I.L. has been demonstrated during a Summer Ag Institute and several adult meetings.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.