At the end of last September, my co-worker Kathy, who also works at Big Rock Library in Big Rock, told me about an activity they were offering. She said, the Hinckley Big Rock High School FFA with help from the DeKalb County Farm Bureau had make up activity kits for kids about apples and were being offered for free to the local kids. She showed me a kit and what it contained and I knew I wanted to do the same thing for the Paw Paw Library.
I called the Lee County Farm Bureau, the county Paw Paw is in, to find out what I could get from them to make up my own kits. They put me in contact with their Ag Literacy Coordinator, Katie Pratt. I told her what the Big Rock Library was doing and wanted to know if it was possible to replicate that idea at Paw Paw. She said they do something very similar with their Ag in the Classroom activities; usually she goes into a classroom to teach a lesson and then do the activities with the class. But, since she can’t go into the classrooms she would put together a kit with what she would use in the classroom.
There are not many places to advertise in Paw Paw, but through word of mouth and telling every patron who came in that first month about the activity bags, they became a hit. It started out with me doing a “hard sell” to patrons when they came, but soon they were coming in and asking, “Has the next activity bag come in?”
I had talked with several parents when the school year started and asked them if they thought their children would be interest in on-line activities. They all said they were all “computered” out. Offering hands on activities is what they wanted. By offering the Ag in the Classroom Bags (the lessons and activities came in a bag), we were fulfilling what parents were asking for and offering up something free to the community that would educate them about ag related topics.
Ag in the Classroom*
*Offering bushels of agriculture knowledge through fun, interesting subject based lessons.
Ag in the Classroom is to encourage and fund agricultural related educational opportunities for youth of Lee County.
Blog by Barbara Zeman, Director, Paw Paw Public Library District