North Dakota teacher honored for promoting ag literacy

Created: 3/17/10 (Wed) | Topic: Education

A Fargo third-grade teacher is one of ten teachers, nationally, to be recognized by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture for their outstanding efforts to promote agricultural literacy. Cheryl Bombenger of Holy Spirit Elementary School will receive a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in June.

The Foundation, through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education, sponsored the scholarships in cooperation with the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee.

“The National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference has a proven track record as a worthwhile resource for teachers. This year we’re pleased to provide the opportunity for 10 outstanding teachers from around the country to attend,” said Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky farmer, chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee and a Foundation board member.

At the conference, several hundred teachers will explore expanding student outreach through teaching about food, fiber and renewable fuels. Scholarship recipients were judged on past use of innovative programs to educate students about agriculture as well as future plans to implement information gained at the AITC conference in their own classrooms and share the information with other teachers.

“It is extremely rewarding to see an educator who has attended a previous AITC conference take what they have learned and put it into practice in the classroom. Cheryl has put more into motion as a result of her experience in 2009 than most educators would do in their entire career,” said Gail Bakko, North Dakota Farm Bureau Director of Special Programs.

The AITC conference brings together a diverse group of organizations and speakers to address how to improve agricultural education, showcase successful programs and offer educational materials. The Agriculture Department coordinates the AITC program with the goal of helping students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society.

The Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (sponsored in part by Maryland Farm Bureau) is hosting the annual conference this year. The American Farm Bureau Federation and state Farm Bureaus also support and participate in the program’s efforts. The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education honors two former AFB Women’s Leadership Committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were leaders in early national efforts to expand the outreach of agricultural education and improve agricultural literacy.

One of Cheryl Bombenger’s students, Yuki Coyle, also won the North Dakota Farm Bureau Week farm safety placemat coloring contest for students in grades 3-5.

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