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Farm bureau presents ‘Ag in the Classroom’ video and activity booklet

By Staff | May 28, 2021

Maui County Farm Bureau is providing a virtual version of its popular “Agriculture in the Classroom” program. The lessons include “The Role of Stock Dogs on a Ranch” presented by Greg Friel of Haleakala Ranch. PHOTO BY STEVE BRINKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY.

KULA — Until regulations allow more than 1,200 second-graders to pile onto school buses and head Upcountry again, Maui County Farm Bureau is pleased to provide a virtual version of its popular “Agriculture in the Classroom” (AIC) program. The new video and activity booklet feature lessons from local farmers, ranchers and agriculture educators.

Since 2006, MCFB’s program has been sharing knowledge about local agriculture with students, both in their classrooms and on an annual field trip Upcountry to the heart of Maui’s ag community at Haleakala Ranch. With current conditions in 2021, a different approach was necessary. Teams from Haleakala Ranch, Maui Electric, College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources and the University of Hawaii Maui College’s Master Gardener Program, Bayer, and Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts collaborated and came up with an educational video and a fun, colorful activity booklet.

“We wanted to keep agriculture a part of the second grade experience, even though we cannot host the students in-person for our annual field trip,” said Maggie Kramp, Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts. “We had fun filming our segments, and we hope the students will enjoy our lessons as much as possible until we can see each other again in person.”

The six lessons are: “Watersheds” presented by Jordan Jokiel, Haleakala Ranch; “Healthy Soil” presented by Jessica Talbot, Sabrina Medina, Kelly Butler with Maggie Kramp, Maui Soil & Water Conservation Districts; “Canoe Plants” presented by Eric DelMaria, Master Gardener Program, CTAHR; “Parts of a Plant” presented by Brian Hopper, Bayer; “Powered by Fruits” presented by Shayna Decker, Maui Electric; and “The Role of Stock Dogs on a Ranch” presented by Greg Friel, Haleakala Ranch

Teachers can opt to show the AIC video in class at one time or over a period of days or weeks. Each lesson plan runs for 12 to 15 minutes. The companion booklet allows teachers and students to review the lesson plans in a printed format and complete a variety of exercises. Students can also watch the videos and work on the activity booklet while they learn from home.

Although nothing can beat in-person instruction in the fresh Upcountry air, AIC farmers, ranchers and ag educators hope the virtual version of their lessons will still provide enjoyment and inspiration.

“Teaching second-graders about watersheds and the importance of water for everyone and everything, including agriculture, is something I’m excited about,” Jokiel said. “It’s never too early to provide children (and teachers/parents) with information they can think about and practice in their daily lives.”

The AIC information is created for second-graders in all schools: public, private or charter, or at-home learning. The video link and booklets will be provided to second grades across Maui through MCFB’s partnership with the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

“We are grateful to all our ag partners who have made this possible,” said Warren Watanabe, MCFB executive director.

“Our keiki benefit tremendously from this early knowledge about their natural environment and how that’s connected to agriculture on Maui.”

To receive the video and activity booklet, or to sign up for AIC 2022, contact MCFB at education@mauicountyfarmbureau.org.