Ag Tags will pay for kindergarten farming in Micanopy


Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 8:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 8:42 a.m.

Elementary school students in Micanopy and Archer are among the thousands who will benefit from sales of the state license plates known as Ag Tags.

About $29,000 from sales of the specialty license plates have been designated for use as teacher grants to promote lessons in agriculture. The Gainesville-based Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. has selected 36 teachers to receive the grants for the current school year.

In a news release about the grants from the organization, officials said the money will help 7,200 students around the state "learn about using sugarcane byproducts as an alternative fuel, agriculture water use and growing Florida vegetables."

Cara Martin, chairman of Florida Agriculture in the Classroom and assistant director of government and community affairs for Florida Farm Bureau, said "These teacher grant projects will reach a broad range of grade levels from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and disciplines with agriculture-related lessons in language arts, math, science and social studies."

The teacher grant projects being funded this year include:

1. "Croppin' Kindergarteners" - Kindergarteners at Micanopy Area Cooperative School in Alachua County will learn about vegetable farming in Florida by planting raised bed and Earth Box gardens.

2. "Discovering Florida: Our Land, Our Food, Our People 2008-09" - First through fifth grade students at Archer Community School in Alachua County will learn about turn-of-the-century farming in Florida and man's dependence on natural resources to grow crops.

3. "Passion Ate About Learning" - Pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students at Endeavor Elementary Magnet School of Technology in Brevard County will learn about the Florida agriculture industry by planting Earth Box gardens.

4. "Children Grow Together" - Seventh graders at New Renaissance Middle School in Broward County will learn about Florida commodities and the impacts of starvation and distribution of wealth in poor countries by sending the proceeds of products grown in their schoolyard garden to Nambia in Africa.

5. "Garden Buddies" - Second graders at McNab Elementary in Broward County will learn about Florida commodities and nutrition by planting a garden and participating in hands-on activities.

6. "Gardenology: A Living Laboratory" - Tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders at South Plantation High School in Broward County will learn about environmental science, botany and Florida agriculture in a land laboratory they will create.

7. "Planting for the Future" - At-risk students in ninth through twelfth grade at Blountstown High School in Calhoun County will learn about healthy eating using Florida commodities.

8. "Cow Days" - First graders at Pine Meadow Elementary in Escambia County will learn about the Florida dairy industry and where milk and dairy products come from in this classroom agriculture project.

9. "Raising Cane in Florida" - Students at Matanzas High School in Flagler County will learn about the Florida sugarcane industry and the decisions involved in using alternative fuel made from ethanol, sugarcane and other agriculture byproducts.

10. "Container Gardening with Food Crops" - Sixth graders at Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology in Hernando County will learn about the Florida vegetable industry by growing vegetables in Earth Boxes.

11. "Farming in Water" - Sixth graders at West Hernando Middle School will learn about fish farming and hydroponics by raising tilapia in a fish tank and growing strawberries hydroponically.

12. "Which Came First: The Chicken or the Egg" - Kindergarteners and second graders at Symmes Elementary in Hillsborough County will learn about the Florida agriculture industry using a virtual farm and operating an incubator to hatch chicks.

13. "The Art Club Serenity Garden" - Kindergarten through fifth grade students at Beachland Elementary in Indian River County will learn about Florida horticulture and herb production by expanding a schoolyard garden.

14. "BEE Earth Smart" - Third graders at Umatilla Elementary in Lake County will learn about bees and their importance to the Florida agriculture industry from a guest speaker and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom lessons.

15. "From the Garden to Table" - First graders at Clermont Elementary in Lake County will create real-life connections to their science, math, reading and writing lessons by growing edible plants in container gardens.

16. "Harvesting Water" - Pre-kindergarten through third grade students at Astatula Elementary in Lake County will learn about Florida agriculture and its need for water by irrigating their schoolyard garden with rain collected in barrels.

17. "Horticulture for Healing: The Outdoor Living Classroom" - Special needs students in the third, fourth and fifth grade at Lake Hills School in Lake County will learn about beneficial insects and the plant life cycle by establishing a butterfly garden.

18. "ESE Classroom Garden" - Special needs students in ninth through twelfth grade at Liberty County High School learn about Florida agriculture by planting commodities in Earth Boxes.

19. "How Does Your Garden Grow?" - Kindergarteners at Liberty Early Learning Center in Liberty County will learn where their food comes from by planting a container garden and listening to an agriculture industry speaker.

20. "Palma Sola's Earthbox Research, Square-Foot Gardening and Hydroponics Growing Project Within the Reader's Workshop" - Third graders at Palma Sola Elementary in Manatee County will learn how plants grow using different growing systems, what beneficial insects' role is in plant production and how their Florida ancestors grew and processed food.

21. "Agriculture's ABC's" - Inner city students in first through fifth grade at Lillie C. Evans Elementary in Dade County will learn where their food comes from by planting a raised bed garden.

22. "Sponge Bob's Square Plots" - Third graders at John I. Smith Elementary in Dade County will learn about Florida agriculture by planting a square-foot garden and participating in Florida Agriculture in the Classroom and other lessons.

23. "We're Growin' and Growing" - Students in pre-kindergarten, first grade and second grade at South Miami K-8 Center will learn about agriculture production in the Miami-Dade County area by growing plants that mirror commodities grown in the area.

24. "It's Elemental: The Chemistry of Farming" - Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Moss Park Elementary in Orange County will learn about the elements and nutrients that plants and animals need to survive by studying the Periodic Table, soil composition and the Florida phosphate industry.

25. "Fifth Grade Embryology Project" - Fifth graders at Sacred Heart Inter Parochial School in Pinellas County will learn about Florida agriculture by rearing chicks in a classroom incubator and participating in Florida Agriculture in the Classroom lessons.

26. "St. Raphael's Garden Angels" - Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at St. Raphael Catholic School in Pinellas County will learn about the Florida agriculture industry by planting a schoolyard vegetable garden and participating in Florida Agriculture in the Classroom lessons.

27. "Florida Agriculture Quilt" - Fourth graders at Indian Rocks Christian School in Pinellas County will learn about the Florida agriculture industry by making a quilt with 67 squares featuring images of commodities produced in each county.

28. "Going Green" - Students in kindergarten through seventh grade at Grace Lutheran School in Polk County will learn about Florida flower and vegetable production by planting a schoolyard garden.

29. "Butterflies and Botany" - Students in kindergarten through second grade at Bartow Elementary Academy in Polk County will learn about Florida agriculture by making a shade house into a plant lab for agricultural experiments.

30. "Environmentally Friendly Gardening and School" - Students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at St. Paul Lutheran School in Polk County will learn about producing food and the nutrients required by expanding their hydroponics garden and experimenting with composting and vermi composting projects.

31. "From Seed to Pancake!" - Second graders at South Woods Elementary in St. Johns County will learn about the challenges farmers face and where grains come from by planting a garden, the products of which will be used to make pancakes.

32. "Earth Quilt and Butterflies" - Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Wildwood Elementary in Sumter County will learn about Florida agriculture by planting an Earth Quilt Garden in which students from different grade levels oversee different parts of the garden.

33. "Teaching ESE Youth Life Skills through Agriculture Education" - Special needs students in ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade at Taylor County High School will learn about Florida agriculture by planting a schoolyard produce garden.

34. "It's Fun to Find Out about Food" - Pre-kindergarten students at Suwannee Primary School will learn how food travels from the farm to the table by participating in Florida Ag in the Classroom lessons and activities and observing a classroom greenhouse.

35. "F.A.R.M.: Florida Agriculture Really Matters" - Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Manatee Cove Elementary in Volusia County will learn about the Florida horticulture industry by planting a native plant garden.

36. "Plant Investigators" - Second graders at Kate M. Smith Elementary in Washington County will learn about plant science and local commodity production by participating in hands on experiments and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom lessons

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