OSU teaches K-12 teachers about agriculture

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Rancher Jason Beck shows an invasive weed to teacher Orissa Burghard during OSU's Summer Ag Institute. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
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More than 500 teachers have completed the weeklong program since 1989

Oregon State University's Summer Ag Institute trains educators about agriculture so they can teach their students where food comes from.

The week-long program is aimed at teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade with little or no agricultural background. The teachers earn graduate-level, continuing education credits from OSU.

Teachers have a choice of two sessions: one on either side of the Cascades. The eastside experience, based in Union, includes Columbia Basin wheat ranches, timber operations, seed farms and cattle ranches. The westside experience, based in Corvallis, showcases the Willamette Valley’s cornucopia of fruit, nuts, vegetables, microbreweries and Christmas trees.

Participants tour orchards, berry fields, dairies and wineries. They shear sheep, test soil and build hydroponics systems for their classrooms. They each stay overnight with a farm family, lending a hand in chores and building relationships.

Sources: Greg Thompson, head of the agricultural education and general agriculture department at OSU

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