Liz Harfst, a junior in the University of Illinois Agricultural Education Program, participated in a National Teach Ag Campaign program during the week of March 18-22 in Washington D.C. Harfst, along with six other agricultural education undergraduate students from across the nation, practiced their teaching skills by presenting a lesson to 7th grade students at Stuart-Hobson Middle School in downtown Washington D.C. This is the second year for the National Teach Ag Campaign program, which pairs agricultural education students with seasoned agriculture teachers as mentors. The teams of current and future teachers design lessons, talk about the challenges of teaching, and deliver their agriculture-based lessons to middle school students. Harfst was paired with Mr. Aaron Geiman from North Carroll High School in Westminster, Maryland.
The agriculture lesson presented to the middle school students was focused on urban agriculture. Each student made their own ‘garden in a glove’ project, which could later be transplanted to their school’s new rooftop garden. Harfst said, “I loved teaching the lesson! I also enjoyed networking with my peers who would also be entering the agricultural education field.”
University of Illinois alum, Mr. Parker Bane, also served as a mentor teacher for the program. “Working with the future teachers allows me to see teaching through a whole new lens,” said Bane, agriculture teacher at Pontiac High School, IL. “It is very rewarding to watch these future teachers plan, prepare and present the lessons they have worked so hard on.”
While in Washington D.C., Harfst also represented the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) organization for an event on Capitol Hill. She, along with 60 other student representatives from agriculture youth organizations met with legislators to promote the agricultural industry. Harfst had the opportunity to meet with Senator Durbin and Representative Kinzinger to discuss her involvement in agriculture.