State Reports

State Summary 2016 — Alaska

State Contact

Ms. Melissa Sikes
Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom
590 University Ave Suite 2
Fairbanks, AK 99709
P: 907-479-1213 x105

Classroom Resources

18 new lessons were created and formatted for AKAITC and distributed to the teachers who attended the summer institute.

49 lessons that had been previously available on the AKAITC website were placed on the new webpage

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Outreach: Displays were set up at the Statewide 21st Century Afterschool Program Conference, the Farm To School Conference in January 2015, the SARE Conference in March 2015, the Tanana Valley State Fair, and the Chena Hot Springs Energy Fair in August 2015, Alaska Association of Conservation District conference and the Tribal Alliance of Conservation Districts, and the Fairbanks Farm Bureau Chapter meetings. Personal contacts were also made across the state in remote areas including: Barrow, Ruby, Fort Yukon, Minto, and Anaktuvuk Pass. A 30 minute presentation about Alaska Ag in the Classroom was given at the Farm to School Conference in Anchorage in January of 2015. AK AITC coordinator Melissa Sikes was invited in April to become a member of the governing board for the Alaska Food Policy Council. AK AITC helped to coordinate two local outreach events to celebrate Alaska Grown Day on May 5th, 2015. AK AITC coordinated a 4 hour Taste of Alaska Grown Cowboy Breakfast event at the Tanana Valley State Fair in August of 2015

Workshops: Marilyn Krause and Melissa Sikes prepared and presented a two credit four-day workshop at the University of Alaska Fairbanks through the Summer Sessions program in the first full week of June 2015. A second workshop was planned in Palmer for the last week of July, but was cancelled due to low enrollment.Seven teachers participated in the 4 day Fairbanks workshop and they gave us tremendously positive evaluations.

Rural Community Agriculture: As part of the AK Farm Bureau grant AK AITC submitted in June, we reached out to rural Yukon River community schools to assist them with innovative agriculture options. We worked with Merreline Kangas School in Ruby to construct a new planter bed to grow vegetables in next summer and an indoor hydroponic growing system. We also worked with Fort Yukon School to build 2 new planter boxes for vegetables next summer.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

100% of teachers who attended the workshop in June of 2015 stated that they would use and integrate agriculture lessons into their curriculum

Having more lesson plans available on the website that have been accessed and downloaded by many teachers throughout the state has impacted how much AITC is being used in Alaska.

Awareness that the AITC program exists and can provide resources and materials has increased.


Mel Sikes has a Bachelor's of Science degree from Unity College in Maine. She has been an environmental and natural resource educator since 1988 She has worked for many organizations including but not limited to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the Calgary Zoo, and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center. She has developed many programs that have trained many teachers on using interdisciplinary hands-on activities to help students to connect with their world. She has developed many activities and lesson plans to help this process. She has been with FSWCD since the fall of 2010 and her duties include planning and instructing environmental education themed after school program for elementary and middle school students. Instructing Project Wild/Project Learning Tree/Project WET educator workshops. Project manager with the Green Infrastructure program working with property owners on managing stormwater runoff. She has worked with the AKAITC program since FSWCD was chosen as the coordinator in August of 2013.