Summary 2020 —
Innovative Programming Conducted and Educational Resources Developed
For our hydroponic kit component to the New Mexico Grow Project Grant, in partnership with NRCS, we provided a series of seven, one hour Zoom meetings (each Thursday) that provided guided step by step, real-time instruction and troubleshooting for teachers that received grant materials. We also worked with Doña Ana County Cooperative Extension to pilot a hydroponic curriculum they created that supplemented kit materials and will ultimately be made available for public use. Teachers were also able to network with experts as well as other teachers to support each other as everyone continued to navigate virtual learning and student engagement issues. We also made all sessions available via Dropbox so that participants could access any sessions they missed or have a store of resources that they could access at any time to refresh their memory of kit materials and set up procedures. NMAITC also created a closed Facebook page for this group that provided a safe place to share activities and ask questions for further support as they navigated the process of using grant materials.
New Mexico had many closures and restrictions due to the pandemic starting in March 2020. It became very difficult to make connections via our usual routes as everyone struggled learning new educational technology and adapting to time constraints for virtual learning. Our new coordinator, Britney Lardner, used the resources she had available to reach a new audience of family at-home learners. She created a video series from her kitchen titled, "Breakfast with Brit" that utilized the Facebook Live platform to add a more interactive component with participants. Each of the videos included step by step directions for a recipe that featured a New Mexico grown ingredient. Videos also provided ag information, hands-on activities, and/or curriculum matrix lessons that relate to the NM ingredient as well as other resources participants could access in order to find out more information. Video resources can be found on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nmaitc/videos/?ref=page_internal. The series also was awarded an American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Award of Excellence in Engagement and Outreach and went on to win an AFBF New Horizon Award.
NMAITC also did a "Teacher 2 Teacher" panel discussion via Zoom & Facebook Live session where teachers discussed the Ag in the Classroom resources they were successfully using, especially as it applied to virtual learning: https://www.facebook.com/100984129944555/videos/327457038320242. This video event had 596 views.
Infographic resources created reaching 13,115 Facebook & Instagram users:
- Dairy - https://www.facebook.com/nmaitc/photos/3241430765899860
- Pecans - https://www.facebook.com/nmaitc/photos/3263040610405542
- Chile - https://www.facebook.com/nmaitc/photos/3045840705458868
- Sheep - https://www.facebook.com/nmaitc/photos/3045619018814370
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
NM Ag in the Classroom increased opportunities for virtual learning after schools throughout the state closed down in March 2020. While the number of in person opportunities were decreased the number of virtual outreach opportunities increased. NMAITC grew their social media outreach by 66%. NMAITC increased the number of people reached on Facebook by 21,221. Breakfast with Brit episodes had over 22,600 views.
Program Leader Biosketch
Traci Curry graduated with a degree in education from Eastern New Mexico University. She spent eleven years in the classroom as an elementary teacher before coming to New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau and the New Mexico Agriculture in the Classroom (NMAITC) program. She has been the NMAITC state contact since 2011.