MACON, Ga. — Since January, about 6,500 Georgia elementary students have enjoyed the ultimate farm field trip without leaving their schools. The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) is taking the farm to third through fifth graders statewide with its Georgia Ag Experience (GAE) – a 36-foot mobile classroom.
Using hands-on, interactive technology, the GAE is designed to give students a virtual experience of visiting poultry houses, peanut and cotton fields, peach and pecan orchards, cattle in pastures, timber stands, blueberry fields and horticulture nurseries.
When students walk through the GAE mobile classroom, they learn how farmers plant and harvest their crops, take care of their animals, and preserve the natural resources on their farms. There is also a station highlighting agricultural career options. All GAE exhibits and lessons have been professionally designed by educators to meet science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum standards.
As the mobile classroom continues to make its way across Georgia, the GFA invites businesses to help it take agriculture to schools by joining the Driving Agriculture Sponsorship Program. Businesses looking to expand their visibility in their county, region or statewide will find the sponsorship program offers options for a range of budgets from $1,000 to $150,000.
Sponsors benefit from a wide array of recognition including: advertising on the exterior of the GAE mobile classroom, mention in Georgia Farm Bureau publications – GFA’s founding organization – and directly with students, teachers, parents and ag stakeholders.
From January to May, the Georgia Ag Experience visited 29 schools in 23 Georgia counties educating 6,502 students and 352 teachers. Teachers and students at participating schools were asked to complete a survey before and after touring the GAE classroom. The preliminary findings of these surveys show that 76% of students who toured the GAE are now more interested in agriculture and 98% of teachers are more likely to incorporate agriculture into their class curriculums in the future.
Businesses interested in helping the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture’s Georgia Ag Experience classroom visit more schools are encouraged to contact the GFA soon as there are high-visibility events at which the mobile classroom will be on display before the end of 2021.
The Georgia Ag Experience will visit schools in Georgia Farm Bureau’s 1st District from Aug. 18-Sept. 20, and will visit schools in GFB’s 2nd District from Sept. 13-Oct. 4.
The Georgia Ag Experience will be displayed at the 2021 Georgia National Fair in Perry Oct. 7-Oct. 17 and at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie Oct. 19-21. School visits will resume Oct. 25-Nov. 12 in GFB’s 4th District and from Nov.15-Dec. 10 in GFB’s 7th District.
For more information about the Georgia Ag Experience and the Driving Agriculture Sponsorship Program visit www.georgiaagexperience.org.
–Georgia Farm Bureau