2014 MAITC Summer Teachers Institute
August 4–8 at Unity College
The 2014 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teachers Institute was held at Unity College on August 4 – 8 with 36 contact hours or 3.6 CEU's available for recertification. The week started with curriculum sessions at Unity College focused on STEM applications using agriculture and food preservation strategies, Social Studies Lessons, and online resources and professional development opportunities to earn CEU's right from their home classrooms. All participants finished the sessions with armloads of materials and megabytes of technology integrating agriculture into their classes from PreK – 12th grade.
On Wednesday the entire group toured Flood farm in Clinton, Backyard Farms in Madison, and received a lesson in plant breeding at Johnny's Selected Seeds. The last stop brought the tour bus to North Star Orchards in Madison for a beautiful wagon ride and pomological lessons including variety selection and IPM. The teachers enjoyed dinner provided by the Bingham Grange.
Thursday's tour included the Doak Farm and Islesboro Central School's agriculture program. Teachers enjoyed the ferry, toured the garden and orchard, and experienced online school garden planning sites they can use with their students. Following the return ferry trip we returned to Unity for a tour of the MOFGA home base and joined 2014 grant winners for dinner there in the Maine Exhibition hall. Many thanks to Walter Whitcomb, Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Heather Spaulding, MOFGA deputy director, for welcoming us and presenting the grant awards. (see grant awards page)
On Friday morning participants visited the Maine Academy of Natural Science and the new KVCC Agriculture program, both based at the site that was formally Goodwill Hinckley School. The group finished the Institute at lunch.
The cost to teachers for the entire week, including meals, all materials and lodging, was only $200 due to sponsorships from the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission, Maine Potato Board, The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry AND the Specialty Agriculture License Plate! The 2015 Summer Teachers Institute is currently being planned with a focus on Nutrition and connecting your school program to local farms. The date and site will be announced early in 2015.
Quote from an educator that had been teaching for over 30 years...
"This was the BEST professional development training that I have EVER attended!"