empire educator january 12
January 2013
Happy New Year!
Teacher to Teacher
NYAITC: What is your favorite way to integrate the garden into your core curriculum?


Raymond: Last spring, I taught a twelfth grade honors English class in which I was able to have students simultaneously engaged with literature and the planting of the garden.  We adopted an eco- critical framework that we applied to the study of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Leslie Marmon Silko's essay "Landscape and Memory" and her novel, Ceremony.  We also studied seed germination...continue reading. 

Agricultural Literacy Week

With winter upon us, it is time to begin preparing for Ag Literacy Week! This upcoming spring Ag Literacy Week will take place March 18-22, 2013. T
he due date for registering classrooms and volunteer readers is almost here. For more 
information on this year's books, The Beeman and The Honeybee Man, visit the Ag Literacy Week page of the NY Ag in the  Classroom website. To support this year's event, register as a literacy volunteer 
and teachers can register classrooms to participate. 

Amy Parr Announced as 2013
Teacher of the Year 
While Cooperstown Central School's 7th graders may not have all grown up on farms, they have learned to appreciate the connections between the farm and their everyday lives. Amy Parr's life science students learn the scientific concepts of local and global ecology and how to connect them with art through the lens of the Agricultural Expedition, making the impact of Parr's integration of agriculture into her curriculum clear.  From plotting acres on a nearby dairy farm as a math lesson to identifying and drawing aquatic insects as part of life science and art lessons, Parr routinely incorporates real world concepts about the impact of agriculture on our global ecology and health into learning opportunities for her students.

Read more about Amy Parr here. 

Educator Resources
Ideas and Inspirations
Arbor Day Poster Contest 

The New York State Department of Environment 
Conservation is now accepting submissions for the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest. This contest is for 5th graders to design an original poster depicting the 2013 contest theme, "Trees are Terrific in All Shapes and Sizes". The winners artwork will be created into a bookmark to be distributed statewide, and a tree will be planted at the winners school in their name. For more information, visit the DEC's website and submit your students artwork by January 17th, 2013. 
plant in hand pic
National Ag Essay Contest

Students in grades 9-12 are invited to submit an original, 450 world essay or a two minute essay about the importance of agriculture. The year's theme is "American Agriculture: Nourishing Opportunities". The national essay winner will receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. for recognition during the Celebration of Ag Dinner held March 19th at the United States Department of Agriculture. Submissions are due February 1, 2013 and you can find more information here.  
Books and Videos
An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston
an orange in january book

The sweetness of an orange in the middle of winter - a treat that most of us take for granted. An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston tells the story of the produce industry and how our oranges make their way into grocery shelves and our hands in the middle of winter. With wonderful illustrations detailing a plant's growth cycle, this story follows an orange from blossom until it lands in the hands if a hungry little boy. Teach your students about the wonderful things our agricultural industry can do, even if it seems as simple as having an orange in January. Great for students in grades K-3.

Winter on the Farm by Chris Fesko

winter on the farm video
Chores on the farm don't end when winter starts. In Chris Fesko's video Winter on the Farm, students learn about the extra work that winter brings on the farm. From cutting 
wood, trimming fruit trees, tapping maple trees and making maple syrup are all part of the winter routine, but don't forget playing in the snow! This scenic video is a wonderful addition to classrooms, grades K-5.

Web Resources


Kids Zone, National Agriculture in the Classroom

Explore this website and discover a wealth of informatio
n and interactive activities to investigate agriculture. Features include Victual Tours, Farm and Fun Food, State Ag Facts, Ag Knowledge and Science Projects.   

Featured NYAITC News

Teacher to Teacher

Agricultural Literacy Week

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This Month In Ag

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Did you know?

In the winter, apple trees need to "rest" for about 900-1,000 hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in order to flower and fruit properly.

apple basket
Upcoming Events


NYS Agricultural Society Meeting and Forum
  • January 10th, 2013 - The Holiday Inn, Syracuse/Liverpool, NY
  • Register for the event here.  
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) Winter Conference
  • January 25-27, 2013 - Saratoga Hilton City Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • 31st Annual Organic Farming & Gardening Conference
  • For more information visit the NOFA-NY website
  • There are scholarships available to attend the conference
The Great New York State Farm Show
  • February 21-23, 2013 - New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY
Agricultural Literacy Week
National Agriculture in the Classroom 2013 National Conference
  • June 25th-28th, 2013 - Marriott City Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Engaging workshops, learning labs, and free educational materials all await you at the National AITC Conference. Network with fellow educators, administrators, and agricultural professionals as you tour Minnesota's agricultural industry and hear from captivating speakers.
  • For more information visit the National Ag in the Classroom website or see their Conference FlyerEarly Bird registration and pricing ends April 15, 2013.

Contact Information

New York Agriculture in the Classroom 
Katie Bigness, Coordinator 
Department of Horticulture 
Cornell University 

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