2009 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Kristen Wescott, Maine
Kristen Wescott grew up on a farm in central Maine with clear realization of what agriculture contributes to everyone's lives. When she began teaching in that area, it was easy to integrate agriculture into the curriculum and develop projects such as a school garden and career day. It wasn't until she relocated to the southernmost county in Maine that Ms.Wescott realized not all schools and students appreciate the importance of agriculture.
Each trimester students display their accomplishments at a special program presented to the community. They study Maine products and hold a school-wide harvest lunch. Students husk local corn, and serve it with Maine baked potatoes, salmon and blueberry pie. An economics fair uses Maine products and offers student-generated items for sale. Using the Maine Agricultural License Plate, students create laws and work to pass them through a mock legislature as they study government. Ms.Wescott has worked to integrate agriculture on a daily basis when teaching language arts, reading, mathematics, and social studies.
When discussing this award, an administrator commented to Ms. Wescott, "Well that's your thing". Right then she realized how much more work she had to do. Maybe someday everyone, not just her students and parents, will realize that if you eat, wear clothes, and live in a house, It's Your Thing Too!