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National Agriculture in the Classroom


Summary 2020 — Pennsylvania

State Contact

Ms Natalie Slembarski
PA Friends of Ag Foundation
P.O. Box 8736
Camp Hill, PA 17001
P: 717.731.3555

Innovative Programming Conducted and Educational Resources Developed

More than 2,000 students were reached at our Farm Market Fun activity at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Our Ag Literacy Week had to rapidly adapt to the shutting down of our state the Friday before it was slated to start in March 2020. We received permission from the book publisher to allow for virtual reading of the book. Throughout the spring and fall of 2020 volunteers connected with 1,500 classrooms across Pennsylvania. Our foundation chairman, Rick Ebert, also read the book and we hosted an Facebook live event where people could tune in to listen to him read the book with the help of his cows.

For the first time ever, we hosted our Educator's Ag Institute virtually. More than 110 teachers attended at least one of our nine classroom sessions. This was very well received and provided our foundation the opportunity to connect with a new group of educators.

We developed the following resources:

  • Positively 4 Kids -
  • Virtual Farm Tour series -
  • Updated Ag Lab Lesson Extension Resources
  • Retooled Ag Lab lessons for virtual presentation

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

50,935 students, grades k-8, were educated last year in the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab, with pre/post surveys showing a 10% increase in agricultural literacy.

Reached 10,000 attendees at 1 major public event promoting general agricultural literacy.

36,000 students, K-2, met a member of Pennsylvania's agricultural community while learning about where their food comes from through an ag accurate book and activity as part of our 4th Annual PA Ag Literacy Week program.

Pre/Post assessments of the 110 Ag Institute participants showed an increase in their ag awareness, including an increase of 15% in the highest pre and post assessments. The pre/post opinion question of "Do you have the knowledge and tools to incorporate agriculture into your classroom" went from 60% pre to 100% post.

Program Leader Biosketch

Charlene Shupp Espenshade is the executive director for the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation. She has a bachelor's degree in dairy science and a minor in communication studies from Virginia Tech. Espenshade joined the foundation in 2018 as its executive director. She and her husband live on a dairy farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.