As I prepared to begin the New Year at work and home, it was time to flip the calendars to 2015.  Call me a creature of habit, but I still need paper calendars to function.  I have joined the ranks of those who actually use their cell phone calendars, however, I feel a sense of comfort actually seeing the upcoming events in my own handwriting.  Even though I know if I lose my phone, it’s backed up on the computer and if my computer implodes, it’s back up on the cloud (whatever ‘the cloud’ is) and so on.  In flipping my Illinois Ag in the Classroom wall calendar to January I saw a beautiful picture of horses, the theme of this month.  The calendar is a wonderful tool for teachers of all grades to hang in their classrooms to generate discussion about agriculture.  In looking at January facts we learn such things as: A yearling is a horse that is one year old, the average life span of a horse is 20-25 years, a filly is the name for a young female horse, there are more than 350 breeds of horses and ponies, gait is a term used to describe the way a horse moves and the facts continue.  There are facts for every school day for the entire year.  Along with the information and photo are vocabulary words and recommended books on each topic.  

The irony of flipping the page to January and seeing horses as the topic, is that we just enjoyed hearing the news about the Chicago High School for Ag Sciences winning a grant for an indoor horse arena.  We are so pleased to see this new facility being built and know that education will be a key component of the project.  Teaching therapeutic horseback riding at a high school in Chicago in January seems to be a stretch of the imagination, but will really be taking place at this time next year.  Ms. Maggie Kendall, Animal Science teacher, had the dream and her dream is becoming a reality.

As I flip through my calendar, I see many exciting opportunities for you to get involved with Ag Literacy.  We have Career Days, Ag Days, Professional Development Workshops, many school visits, Summer Ag Institutes for teachers, Farm Camp for kids and much more.  We hope you will add us to your school or home calendar and become a volunteer or participant in our programming.  2015 looks to be a great year for Ag literacy and we hope to see you at one of our many events or in your school hallways.  Contact us at 708-354-3276 to learn more about volunteering with Ag in the Classroom in 2015.