Changing the World
by Joan Myers, AFBF Women’s Leadership Committee NE Region Representative
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Pennsylvania’s Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab is a powerful weapon being used in Pennsylvania, to educate elementary and middle schools students about how agriculture plays a large role in their daily lives.
A few decades ago, most people grew up on or around farms. Unfortunately, many students today don’t understand where their food on their table comes from. Everyone needs educated! If the students are educated about how agriculture is part of their life from dusk to dawn, they will then educate their parents!
The PA Friends of Ag Foundation, a charitable organization supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, created the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab program in September 2003 as a way to address and correct the disconnect between the consumer and the source of their food. At present there are six 32 foot mobile “lab” classrooms that travels across the state of Pennsylvania to schools for students to do hands-on science experiments related to agriculture.
Students come out to the lab and work in groups at the 12 lab stations to solve a problem as they form a hypothesis, collect data and draw conclusions. Six 50-minute classes are held daily with students completing one of over 30 lessons available. On any given day, you may find students making glue from milk, plastic from corn, crayons from soybeans or completing one of many other captivating experiments.
With the end of another school year, all six of the Mobile Ag Ed Science Labs are presently being inventoried, cleaned and restocked; so the labs are ready in the fall to go to the schools. While I am not a certified teacher, my passion about agricultural education is strong, and as my daughter, Tonya Wible, is the program director, I have been able to become involved with this program.
In addition to working for the program as the Materials and Supplies Consultant and assisting with the inventory, cleaning and restocking of the program, I am sometimes able to work in the lab at events where we teach the public about agriculture. In April I traveled to Washington, DC to participate with the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab and American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Here we were able to provide the over 500,000 attendees with the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and the ways in which agriculture provides for them daily.
The Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab program had its best year yet, with a record of 170 school visits reaching over 106,000 students in Pennsylvania. In the past 11 years, 766,000 students have learned about the impact of agriculture on their daily lives. The students we are reaching are the consumers, voters and decision makers of tomorrow.
Our hope is that future generations will have an increase of awareness, understanding, perception and appreciation for the field of agriculture through education.
The Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab (http://www.pfb.com/aglab) has and will continue to tell the true story of agriculture.
Change is the end result of all true learning.