UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
September 30, 2015--Tyler Foote, a senior agricultural education major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, was one of only 21 students from across the nation selected to attend the National Teach Ag Campaign Future Agriculture Teacher Symposium Sept. 22-25, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
The focus of the symposium was on inquiry-based learning and how to use it in the classroom. Participants were engaged in professional development activities led by DuPont National Agriscience Teacher Ambassadors during the majority of the symposium. On Sept. 24, the 6th annual National Teach Ag Day, the future agriculture teachers participated in a live, interactive webcast with national and state agriculture education leaders and current agriculture teachers. The live event was hosted by the American Farm Bureau’s Washington D.C. office.
The National Teach Ag Campaign raises awareness of the need to recruit and retain agriculture teachers, encourages others to consider a career teaching agriculture, and celebrates the contributions agriculture teachers make in their schools and communities.
“After meeting and working with the 20 other participants in the symposium, I am excited because I see that agricultural education is headed in the right direction,” said Foote. “This group of future teachers is very dedicated and ready to educate not only future students, but the rest of society on the importance of agriculture.”
Foote, of Brandon, credits his Education Abroad experience in the spring semester of his sophomore year with opening his eyes to the global importance of and issues in agriculture. Through the UW-River Falls Experience China program, he spent five months at Zhejiang International Studies University in Hangzhou, China. In between classes he spent time interacting with local residents at outdoor markets, working alongside villagers in ancient rice terraces, and observing both small scale subsistence-level farms and large international agriculture export operations. Upon returning from China, Foote put his international experience to use as a resident assistant in the international residence hall and as a peer advisor with the International Education office on campus.
It was his experience in China that highlighted the need and importance for new experiences, perspectives and ideas, and prompted Foote to apply for the National Teach Ag Campaign Symposium.
“If you have the opportunity to participate in a professional development event, do it!” Foote said. “It might be scary but the amount of information and connections you make will benefit you in the future.”