Garland one of eight teachers selected for national award
Cherokee County teacher Karen Garland, who won the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Ag In the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award, is one of eight teachers nationwide to receive the 2021 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award.
Garland, a kindergarten through fifth grade science teacher at Clark Creek Elementary STEM Academy in Canton, Ga., uses a school garden to teach kindergarteners about the five senses, first-graders about the water cycle, second-graders about plant and animal life cycles, third-graders about habitat conservation and soil health, fourth-graders about the weather and ecosystems and fifth-graders about erosion and other destructive forces in the garden and classification systems.
The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO), U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and Farm Credit partner each year to honor teachers in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade from around the country for the innovative ways they use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies, STEM, STEAM and more.
“Many people think that agriculture teaches hard work and perseverance, and it does. But, these outstanding teachers recognize that agriculture also is fertile ground for teaching botany, biology, chemistry, finance, climatology, and arts, in ways that any age or level of students can understand, appreciate and apply to their daily life,” said Dr. Carrie Castille, USDA-NIFA director, which provides federal leadership and annual funding for NAITC. “When a student makes that real-life connection to the lessons their teachers share, students continue to learn and absorb the true meaning of those lessons when they leave the classroom. Innovative teachers like these are often responsible for awakening a student’s love of learning, nature and science.”
Garland and the other recipients will be honored at the 2021 National Ag in the Classroom Conference, to be held June 28-July 1 in Des Moines, Iowa.