Cream of the Crop

March 2006

California AITC Conference Call for Presenters
Are you interested in presenting at the California AITC Conference this fall, or are you planning on attending and have a suggestion for a presentation? Please fill out the online interest form to recommend a speaker or request a proposal packet.

What's Growin' On in the Kids' Corner?
Several of the activities from the new edition of What's Growin' On? have been adapted into online interactive activities. Can you find all of the hidden edible plant part pictures? Do you want to create a brochure advertising your own innovative horticulture product? Try both and more on the Kids' Corner Web site!

Cream of the Crop Educator Newsletter
The Spring 2006 issue of the newsletter isn't due out until later this season, but past issues still contain a lot of great information. Spring 2005 includes instructions for making biodegradable plastic from corn and ice cream in a can. Autumn 2005 includes an article from the 2005 Educator of the Year Tina McEnroe about teaching ancient civilizations and the history of food. Request a free copy of a past issue for yourself, or in bulk to share with your colleagues, by filling out the request form. Indicate issue date and quantity in the comments field. If you're not already on the mailing list to receive Cream of the Crop hot off the press, this form will also sign you up for a free subscription.

California and Water Course
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
Thursdays, Mar. 9-Mar. 30, 2006, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Learn about the latest news on water, one of California's most limited resources. This course is taught by industry experts and explores current issues relating to California's water budget, threats to water quality, desalination, and the allocation of water resources such as the Colorado River Basin. Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be available through Long Beach City College for 10 hours of credit. The cost is $35 for a member, $45 for a member with CEU, $45 for a non-member, and $55 for a non-member with CEU.
For more information, visit or call 562/590-3100 ext. 0 to register.

Marin County Farm Day
Mar. 23, 2006, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., San Rafael
More than 2,000 school children convene each spring to enjoy the delights of Farm Day, a free event geared to provide a hands-on educational experience outside of the classroom. Northern California ranchers, growers, producers and educators provide interactive exhibits on agriculture, health, farm animals, gardens and environmental education. There is also a mural contest and an essay contest with cash awards for winning entries for elementary students.
For more information, visit or call the Marin Center Box Office at 415/499-6800. Awards

2006 Mantis Awards
Deadline: Mar. 31, 2006
Support of charitable and educational garden programs that enhance the quality of life in their host communities.
12th Annual Kids Growing with Dutch Bulbs Awards
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2006
Supplies 500 schools with a package of 200 premium Dutch flowering bulbs.

A+ for Energy Grant and Scholarship Program
Deadline: Apr. 7, 2006
The A+ for Energy grant program provides $5,000 and $10,000 grants to K-12 teachers to assist them in teaching about energy and energy conservation. This year, $1.5 million is earmarked for California teachers. How does this relate to ag? The food chain and food webs, solar energy for greenhouses or agricultural biomass as a fuel source could be the start of many ideas for creative ag-related projects.
For more information, explore or call 714/228-6760.

Forestry Institute for Teachers
Application deadline: Apr. 17, 2006
$20 non-refundable application fee required.
Learn about trees, forestry and their connection to California agriculture. All meals and lodging are provided free for this seven-day residence workshop. Teachers will receive extensive classroom and curriculum materials and a $200 stipend on completion and implementation of a forest-related curriculum unit or project conducted in their classrooms.
Three institutes are available:

For more information and to apply, visit or call 800/738-TREE.

Outdoor Classroom Grant Program
Deadline: Apr. 30, 2006
Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, International Paper and National Geographic Explorer! classroom magazine have partnered to create an outdoor classroom grant. The goal is to provide schools with additional resources to improve their science curriculum by engaging students in hands-on experiences outside the traditional classroom. Grants up to $2,000 will be awarded to at least 100 schools. In some cases, grants for up to $20,000 may be awarded to schools or school districts with major outdoor classroom projects. All K-12 public schools in the United States are welcome to apply.
For more information, visit

VIVA! Garden Contest for Everyone
Deadline: May 31, 2006
Fifty winners will be selected to receive a $250 Home Depot gift card. Send a photo and a short description of your garden plan in the following categories: most creative garden design, best garden plan, or best use of space.
For more information, and for an entry form, visit