Sunday, August 26, 2007

Calendar winners honored at State Fair

Today several families gathered from around the state to congratulate the winners of the annual calendar art contest held by the Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.

The calendar shows the talented art work from 13 students from grades K-6; the kids, their parents, and their teachers were all invited to the Oregon State Fair to receive some of the new calenders, certificates, and $50 savings bonds. The majority of them came, unless they had other conflicts.

There was also a chance for the students to talk about what inspired them to do the pictures, what they have learned about agriculture from their parents or teachers, and how long it took them to do the pictures. Some of them talked about their loyalty to certain brands (such as John Deere), the important of county fairs in their rural communities, their obsession of cows, their love of horses, and the importance of timber.

Parents had a chance to say how proud they are of their children and their talent, but also explain a bit more about their kids' artistic talent. A couple of mothers laughed and shared how glad they were that the kids now drew on paper — compared to walls or even the back of car seats when they the children were younger. Many of the kids said art was their favorite hobby, and they loved to draw or paint all the time.

Teachers talked about the students but also about how they use AITC resources in their classrooms and how this helps teach students about important commodities in the state. They expressed their thanks to AITC for the support they receive, from lesson plans to resources they can use for the students.

The students who participated in the contest definitely showed great talent but also expressed their interest — and in some cases, passion — for agriculture. Even those who admitted they did the art because it was a class assignment admitted they had fun and learned a lot about agriculture.

For those who live on farms, they revealed what agriculture means to them personally as a way of life but also something they respect deeply.

It's important to have programs like AITC in Oregon and other states to encourage this next generation to learn about agriculture but also to share this message that they care about what happens to farms in the future.

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