Local volunteers receive awards from Illinois Ag In The Classroom

Illinois Farm Bureau president, Richard Guebert, Jr., presents Natalie Pratt with her award in Chicago during the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in recognition for her efforts to assist Illinois Ag in the Classroom with virtual lessons in 2020-2021. Photo submitted

CHICAGO – During Illinois Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting in Chicago in early December, volunteers from across the state were celebrated for their efforts and accomplishments with the Ag in the Classroom program.  The Sauk Valley area had three receive recognition for their dedication to Ag in the Classroom.

Recipients were recognized as Illinois Ag in the Classroom Volunteers of the year including the Mitchell Family from Tampico and the Ashton Franklin Center FFA Chapter from Ashton. 

Volunteering with the Whiteside County Ag in the Classroom program, it’s a family effort for the Mitchell Family to share their experiences with their melon farm outside of Tampico.   Like an ever expanding melon vine, the family, including Jeanne Mitchell, Whitney Mitchell-DeWitte, Greg Mitchell and Jean Mitchell, plants the seeds of knowledge regarding their specialty area in agriculture by sharing their passion with students.  Family members present to accept the award were Jeanne Mitchell, Doug Mitchell, Brandon DeWitte and Whitney DeWitte.

In a unique recognition, not a single person, but the entire Ashton Franklin Center (AFC) FFA Chapter was honored for their 15 years of dedication to the Lee County Ag in the Classroom program.  

The AFC FFA Chapter has been instrumental in supporting the annual Lee County Ag Expo as volunteers and presenters as well as hosting a Touch a Tractor event and other programs with the elementary students in their district. 

Rounding off the local recognitions by Illinois Ag in the Classroom was Natalie Pratt from Dixon.  While COVID 19 protocols dictated that schools were remote learning, Illinois Ag in the Classroom transitioned its lessons online as well, partnering with students, including local Amboy High School student, Natalie Pratt, to host virtual farm tours and lessons.  Pratt featured a series titled “Natalie’s Awesome Agriculture” from 2020-2021 and was recognized for her efforts to bring agriculture lessons and facts through social media.  

Ag in the Classroom provides free fun and educational resources to teachers and students throughout Illinois by partnering with local Ag in the Classroom programs throughout the state, including Lee and Whiteside Counties.  For more information about Illinois Ag in the Classroom, visit agintheclassroom.org.