Author: Toni Dauwalter
Happy Spring or as I say to my own kids…I’m so excited to smell the dirt again! As spring is springing into action, I (Toni Dauwalter) am stuck at home like the rest of you. BUT, as an optimist...I am finding fun ways to bring JOY to our family. I can’t wait to share some of these things with all of you too on this blog! Sneak peek...think - chicks hatching, baby bunnies, planting seeds!!
Let me introduce myself:
As the MN Agriculture in the Classroom Regional Curriculum Specialist in central MN my job is to help teachers incorporate agriculture into their classrooms to spread our mission ‘Agriculture is valued by ALL’. Growing up on a small farm in WI, I developed a strong appreciation for the land and animals. It has shaped my life as an adult as well. Not only does my work with MN Ag in the Classroom allow me to share this passion with teachers and kids, but I now have my own little hobby farm. I live outside of Carver with chickens, bees, a small orchard and a large veggie garden. I think it is exciting to watch something grow from a tiny seed to my dinner plate and my excitement is contagious!
While the teachers around the world are looking for ways to create distance learning opportunities for their students it reminds me of why it is important for everyone to understand the importance the Ag industry has in our lives. Making connections to the food we eat and the things around us helps to make us informed consumers and creates an awareness of our impact on our environment and natural resources. A lot of people think that agriculture means only farmers, but it is so much more! By helping students understand everything that makes up the agriculture field we are also sparking curiosity and bringing to life the many opportunities present in this exciting and growing industry. Who knows, in the process we may be creating future farmers, plant scientists, animal nutritionists, environmental engineers, and many more ag industry leaders!!
MN Agriculture in the Classroom is doing so many things all around the state from Regional Specialists (like me) visiting classrooms to grantmaking for schools and teachers each fall and so much more. On our website teachers can access over 400 lessons to use in their classroom and also sign up for MANY of our free resources including our Ag Mag for kids. Share the links with teachers you know! We also host agriculture teacher tours around the state, have monthly teacher kits and provide teacher workshops.. You can also check out our Foundation Tab link to see the many sponsors that make our work possible. During this COVID-19 time we have also created a special link with specific resources for Distance Learning.
So, I hope you are taking this opportunity to slow down, spend quality time with your family and learn about something new! I know that teachers are working hard to create meaningful learning and I hope MN Ag in the Classroom can help. As the beginning of spring is here, I hope you all enjoy seeing the fields and farmers and birds and bees all spring into action around us! While the grass starts to grow in yards and your kids are growing up too fast (I know mine are!), I wish to take a moment to thank everyone that helps share our MN Ag in the Classroom mission ‘Agriculture is valued by ALL’. We are all in this together and we will come out of it a little more rested and maybe, if you do my GREENHOUSE CHALLENGE (info coming soon!) you will come out of this with a new skill - growing your own food...Happy Spring!
Meet Toni video:
Video of Toni sharing what she is doing at her house during COVID-19: