First Lady LePage honors Maine Agriculture Teacher of the Year

Presentation of award to 2013 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Sharon Hathaway, of Leavitt Area High School, with Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Walter Whitcomb, and Maine First Lady Ann LePage.
Presentation of award to 2013 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Sharon Hathaway, of Leavitt Area High School (center), with Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Walter Whitcomb, and Maine First Lady Ann LePage.

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom celebrated its annual meeting and dinner on Oct. 17 at the State Grange in Augusta with presentations by Maine First Lady Ann LePage and  Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Walter Whitcomb.

A number of grant recipients presented their projects at the meeting, including this year’s Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Sharon Hathaway, of Leavitt Area High School in Turner, who initiated a course to promote student understanding of agriculture and natural resources, incorporating current and historical connections to their community.

Mrs. LePage recognized the importance of school garden efforts across Maine and described hosting Augusta’s Farrington Elementary School at the Blaine House in May to plant vegetables for a local food pantry and sample locally grown Maine produce.

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Executive Director Willie Sawyer Grenier presented guests with the newly printed Pre-K to grade 4 book Dairy Farming for ME, published by Maine Agriculture in the Classroom for their “Read ME Agriculture” program with the support of the Maine Dairy Promotion Board and Dairy Nutrition Council. The “Read ME Agriculture” program brings 600 volunteers into Maine classrooms each year to teach students about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom provides trainings for grades K-12 teachers on incorporating agriculture and natural resource topics into existing curriculum. The Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Council oversees the proceeds from Maine’s agricultural license plate, providing $60,000 in educational grants each year to teachers across the state. Other activities of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom include an annual summer teacher institute (this year in Aroostook County), as well as pre-service and in-service teacher trainings.

The dinner of local Maine produce was provided and prepared by the Maine State Grange and by the Maine Aquaculture Association.

For more information on Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, contact Willie Sawyer Grenier, executive director, at maitca@maine.gov or 207-287-5522.

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