By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON -- Cathy Carr, a teacher at Banford Elementary School, has been recognized for her exceptional efforts to encourage agricultural literacy
Carr was among eight teachers and two volunteers nationally selected to receive the honor from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. As part of the award, she will receive a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Minneapolis, late in June.
Carr was selected last fall as the 2012 New York Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, and attended the conference last year and he says she learned a lot.
“The emphasis that other states place on agriculture was just mind-boggling,” Carr said “I thought it was more of a gardening thing, but I was impressed by how much they knew about agriculture there, such as what was a state’s top crop.”
The American Farm Bureau selected the national winners based 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 lesson plans and share the information with other educators.
Carr has created two garden sites at the school for students, “a raised bed and a vine garden. And at the Cooperative Extension Learning Farm in Canton, we have beds in their tunnel greenhouse.”
Carr has been teaching for 25 years, and has incorporated agriculture into each of her subjects with her first, second, and third graders and has partnered with the high school agriculture program.
Utilizing her school garden, she has developed garden newsletters and created promotional posters with her students during language arts lessons, and creates planting grids with her math students.
During science classes, her students use a class worm “farm” to learn about ecosystems, life cycles, and healthy soil.
She has also developed a classroom cooking center, where she instills in her students the importance of trying new foods, and teaches them about nutrition and food preparation skills.