Cream of the Crop

September 2005

Imagine this... Writing Contest
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2005
Students in grades 3-8 can fine-tune their writing and research skills while creating a 750-word essay showcasing agriculture. Teachers like the contest because it provides an opportunity for accolades related to academics; students like the contest because it's fun to be creative. Prizes are awarded on both regional and statewide levels, and the six top stories become animated vignettes featured in a 30-minute video.
For details, explore or contact Nancy Gutierrez at 800/700-AITC.

Imagine this... Kids' Writing Workshop
Wed., Sept. 21, 2005 3:30 p.m.
Elk Grove Community Library, 8962 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove, CA
This workshop for grades 3-8 will include tips on how to develop characters and research an agricultural topic for their Imagine this... writing contest entry.
For more information, contact Nancy Gutierrez at 800/700-AITC.

California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference
Oct. 20-22, 2005, Sacramento
Plant yourself in the middle of the biggest ag literacy conference this side of the Mississippi! Workshops, tours and general assemblies pull together the best ideas and resources for educators who connect their students to the roots of their food and fiber. Confirmed speakers include author Richard Louv, the Banana Slug String Band, and author Mas Masumoto. Register by Oct. 3 for early bird special of $200. Registration from Oct. 4 through the conference is $240.
Contact the Foundation at or call 800/700-AITC.

California AITC Conference Tours
Oct. 20-22, 2005, Sacramento
Spaces are filling fast! Pre-conference to Sly Park and Apple Hill is limited to the first 50 to sign-up. Regular tours are available on a first come basis. Register online to reserve a place on your favorite tour:

Tour 1: American River Water Education & Cordova Recreation & Park District
Experience interactive sessions and a walk through the xeriscape garden at the American River Water Education Center at Folsom Dam. The Nimbus Fish Hatchery, a Sacramento Valley Live Steamer train ride, and Storytime in the Barnyard with Reading Haystack will explore agriculture through history, literature, art and science.
Tour 2: Yolo & Solano Fibers, Dairy Goats & the World of Endive
The Yolo Wool Mill and dairy goats at McCosker Farms will link to learning about dry land farming and a new compatible extension of agriculture that is sprouting wind turbines. The only American producer of endive, California Vegetable Specialties will share how chicory, a common roadside weed, becomes endive on your plate.
Tour 3: UC Davis College of Ag & Environmental Sciences
Cutting edge science, gardening activities and getting behind the wheel of a tractor will all be a part of this in-depth tour of UC Davis College of Ag & Environmental Sciences! Stops include the Children's Garden, Market Garden, Center for Plant Reproductive Biology and the Joe A. Heidrick Western Center for Agricultural Equipment.
Tour 4: Yolo County's Bounty & More--All Aboard!
A ride aboard the Sacramento RiverTrain will roll through the Yolo Wildlife Refuge on the longest wooden bridge in the West. Travel along the Sacramento River and through scenic farmland with stops including Joe Yeung Farms and Del Rio Botanical to visit with Suzanne Peabody Ashworth, botanist, farmer, teacher and recognized authority on seeds.
Tour 5: El Dorado's Apple Hill Agri-tourism Adventures
Learn all about El Dorado County's McGee's Tree Farm/Carson Ridge Evergreens, the Louisiana Schnell Elementary School's Garden of Learning, and Boeger Winery. The School Garden of Learning is used as a "model" by the University of California Cooperative Extension to demonstrate sound school gardening practices. After three decades of wine production, Boeger Winery remains small featuring 25 plus varietals and using more than 90 percent of their own grapes.
Tour 6: Bon Voyage on Delta Ecotours & Hartland Nursery
The Tule Queen will take this group on a journey exploring the Sacramento Delta by boat. Specific topics include early Spanish and pioneer history, effects of the gold rush era, farming, plant and animal life and water issues. Native plants will be the focus of the exhibits and instructional sessions at Hartland Nursery.

Tour 4 is almost full. Register online today!!

Project WET Facilitator Workshop
This 8-hour workshop provides training in using the Project WET activities with students. Project WET activities are correlated to the State Standards for Science, History/Social Studies and English/Language Arts. Each seminar participant will receive a copy of the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guidebook and a Facilitator's Handbook with all the information necessary to conduct a Project Wet workshop. Cost is $10

Sat., Oct. 1, 2005 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
San Joaquin River Parkway Trust, Willow Lodge, 2020 E. Birkhead, Fresno 93720
Fri., Dec. 2, 2005 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Water Conservation Garden, 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West, El Cajon 92019

For more information, visit or contact Brian Brown at 916/444-6240.

Livestock Leaders and Educators Symposium
Sat. Oct. 29, 2005, Stockton
This event provides educational materials, reference guides, and handouts about youth livestock programs. Could be particularly useful for FFA, 4-H and Grange members and leaders, educators, fair staff, and others. Register by Oct. 23 to guarantee handouts. $30 for adults, $10 for youth.
For more information, contact or 209/466-5041.

2005 Organic School Garden Awards
Deadline: Postmarked Oct. 31, 2005
This essay and poster contest is for K-12 students who feel they can improve their health and the health of the earth by gardening. Essays should be 800 words or less about the garden in which they work. The poster portion of the contest includes creating a representation of one's garden using four photographs. First place is $1,000.
For more information, visit

Scotts Draw Your State Flower National Contest
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2005
Available to students in K-6 grades, one winner will be chosen from each of the 50 states. Each winner will receive a $250 cash prize and his/her artwork will be displayed at the new National Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.
For more information, entry form, and certificate of participation visit

Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant
Deadline: Nov. 15, 2005
The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, or other non-profit educational organizations for the purpose of establishing outdoor learning centers. Project goals should focus on the enhancement and development of an appreciation for nature using native plants. Cash awards range from $100 to $500.
For more information, visit or contact Steve Maassen.

Young Epidemiology Scholars Research Project Competition
Deadline: Feb. 1, 2006
Epidemiology is the science of exploring patterns of disease, illness and injury within populations, with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control and treatment of the problem. Use agriculture as a theme to shed light on a health problem. Substantial scholarships are awarded to winners.
For more information, visit

EdHeads Weather Activities
Targeted for grades for grades 4-9, use this online interactive activity to reinforce learning about predicting and reporting the weather. Includes teacher guide and national science standards. How does weather affect farmers and ranchers?

From past issues:
UC Davis School Garden Workshops

Cost: $15 per session
Three workshops will be available this fall for parents and educators to support school garden programs through fun, hands-on activities. Participants will gain ideas and materials to support their educational work in school gardens, and most activities are linked to CA state academic standards.

For more information, visit or contact Katie Hume at 530/752-7655.