Cream of the Crop

February 2005

1. Outstanding Educator of the Year 2005
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is pleased to announce the 2005 Outstanding Educator of the Year: Christina Hansen McEnroe. Tina teaches K-8 at Vista de Las Cruces School in Gaviota. Congratulations, Tina! Tina will present at the National AITC Conference this summer in Indiana and at the California AITC Conference in October.

The following teachers also were recognized for their efforts in increasing awareness and understanding of agriculture among California's students:

Excellence in Student and Community Impact
Lawrence Omeje, 5th grade teacher, Turner Elementary School, Fresno
Excellence in High School Instruction
Gary Nelson, 9-12 grade teacher, Pershing High School, Fresno
Service to the Foundation
Clarence Atwater, 7th grade teacher, San Gabriel Christian School, Sante Fe Springs

Learn more about Outstanding Educators on the Web site at

2. Tell a Colleague about Cream of the Crop
Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving the Cream of the Crop newsletter or other ag literacy resources? If they haven't heard of CFAITC yet, use this online form to let them know. The Spring 2005 issue of Cream of the Crop is due out in March. If you are already on the list, do nothing; it will automatically be sent to you. But, don't let your fellow educators miss out on the information. Tell them about the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom!

3. National AITC Conference
June 8-11, 2005 Indianapolis, Indiana
Educators of all grade levels and subject areas are encouraged to attend this year's national Ag in the Classroom Conference in Indianapolis. Participants will explore agriculture Indiana-style and experience hands-on and mini workshops, a make-and-take fair, plus a special ag-designed teacher store. Registration information is available online at
And, don't forget to save the date for the California AITC Conference in Sacramento Oct. 20-22, 2005!

4. Life Lab Workshops and Conference
For more information visit or contact at 831/459-5395.

Feb. 12, 2005
Understanding Nature with Science and Technology (Pinnacles Case-Study) ($25)
Learn how to engage your students in evaluating environmental questions in your local area or on a field trip to Pinnacles National Monument.
Science Content and Standards for 4/5th Grade Teachers ($25)
Learn how to incorporate science labs into your classroom.
Feb. 25, 2005
Inquiry in the Garden ($125)
Learn how to incorporate effective inquiry-based education into your classroom/garden.
Feb. 26, 2005
Bringing the Garden to the Kitchen ($125)
Link your garden to healthy eating activities.
Apr. 9, 2005
8th Annual Spring Conference ($40 before Mar. 25)

5. River of Words Poetry and Art Contest
Deadline: Postmarked by Feb. 15, 2005
River of Words, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of watersheds. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place in which they live and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover. Open to children ages 5-19. Students may enter on their own or as part of a group.
For more information visit

6. Read Across America
Mar. 2, 2005
Read Across America is a national day of celebration about reading. This year's event is March 2, in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday.
California Teachers Association (CTA) has established the theme, "Happy Readers Come From California... Got Books?" Helping to celebrate the importance of reading and literacy is Farmer McPeepers and His Missing Milk Cows from a story of a nearsighted farmer who has lost his cows because he can't see without his glasses. Written by Katy S. Duffield and illustrated by Steve Gray, Farmer McPeepers and His Missing Milk Cows is from Rising Moon, a division of Northland Publishing.

Be a part of this year's grand adventure and plan a reading event! Some activities include hosting a book drive, running a reading marathon or sponsoring a breakfast read-in. Check out CFAITC's bookshelf for suggested reading with an agricultural theme.
For more information visit

7. National Ag Week: Mar. 20-26, 2005
A lot of work goes into getting our food from field to table. Take some time this week (specifically National Ag Day, March 20) to reflect on how fortunate we are to have such a productive and efficient agricultural system. To help celebrate in your community, the Agriculture Council of America is providing the following materials:

For more information visit

8. Agriculture: Past, Present, Future
A self-directed study course focusing on agriculture is available through the School of Professional Studies, Center for Professional Development at Fresno Pacific University. College credit semester units are available. The course requires use of a PC with Windows 95 or higher to access CD PowerPoint presentations and the Internet.
For more information visit Fresno Pacific University or Instructor Bob Kirchner's Web site.

9. Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration
Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, birds, and other mammals, plus the budding of plants, changing sunlight and other natural events. This free program includes online database to track findings with mapped reports, standards-based lesson plans, and teacher resources. How do wildlife and the environment affect agriculture?
Visit to register and learn about this season's projects.

10. Sacramento County Fair
May 5-8, 2005
Workshops: Feb. 8 or 10, 2005
Sacramento County educators: The county fair has selected "Springtime Fun for Everyone" as the theme for the 2005 fair. Attend a brief workshop, "Plant, Grow, Eat" Garden in a Wheelbarrow, to receive free educational materials for use in the classroom and then have your students exhibit at the fair what they learned about the sources of food and fiber. Or, register your class to attend the fair and receive a detailed map and description of activities and events designed specifically for your school tour. Admission to the fair is free with a $7 parking fee. (School tour busses and car pool vehicles will park free.) School tour registration deadline is Mar. 25.
For more information visit or call 916/263-2975.

With this Web site, the American Institute of Biological Sciences asks how bioscience issues affect agriculture and your life. The site includes articles by scientists, science educators and science students such as "Fishing the Future: The Need for Aquaculture" or "Biodiesel: The Clear Choice." An original interview with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman Borlaug entitled "Biotechnology and the Green Revolution" is also featured. High school and some middle school level lessons are based on the articles and link to resources that are available. The lessons are correlated to National Science Education Standards.