2022 Ag Science Grants

From studying soil to exploring animals – the possibilities are almost endless!

Apply for an Ag Science Grant from McLean County Farm Bureau Foundation to add hands-on learning to your classroom. Pick one of the recommended kits (see examples below) or submit your own idea!

Need ideas? Check out the kit list or see the 2020 winners here!

Application deadline is Feb. 1, 2022.

Click here to apply.

Winter & Holiday Lessons

The weather outside may be frightful, but these ideas for your classroom are delightful!

McLean County (IL) teachers can request ag mags and activity kits for their classroom: Click here

Online Reading Materials


Books to Read – set up a FREE account on www.openlibrary.org to read these online books for FREE!

Virtual Field Trip to Helmig’s Tree Farm

More Videos:

McLean County Hires New AITC Coordinator

McLean County Fair has named Carrie Vogel to serve as Agriculture Literacy Coordinator for the McLean County Ag in the Classroom program.

“Carrie brings a great deal of experience and knowledge in communicating about agriculture to diverse audiences. We look forward to working with her and continuing the success of our local Ag in the Classroom program,” says Carly Rickard, McLean County Fair board member and co-chair of the McLean County Ag Education committee.

Vogel holds an Agricultural Communications degree from the University of Illinois and has worked as a farm radio broadcaster and as a preschool teacher.

“I look forward to connecting teachers with resources that will help them to teach their students about the importance and impact of agriculture in our county,” Vogel says. “I’m excited to bring hands-on learning about food and farming to classrooms in Bloomington-Normal and surrounding communities.

McLean County Ag in the Classroom reaches more than 9,000 K-12 students annually at public, private and home school programs in McLean County.

Vogel will take the reins from Bridget Caldwell, who plans to retire from the position as of Dec. 31, 2021. Caldwell has served as Ag Literacy Coordinator since 2013.

“We congratulate Bridget on her retirement and are excited to continue offering free lessons and activities to local schools with our new coordinator,” says Austin O’Neall, local farmer and co-chair of the McLean County Ag Education Committee.

2021-22 IL AITC Teacher Grant Winners

From books about pollinators and to biographies about important agriculture innovators, twelve McLean County teachers received book grants to add ag-related books & activities to their classrooms.

2021-22 Winners include:

  • Robert Harrison, Oakdale Elementary
  • Stacia Rockhold, Prairieland Elementary
  • Gillian Schenk, Normal West HS
  • Stacie Lange, Towanda Elementary
  • Kristen Hammer, Fox Creek Elementary
  • Suzie Schertz, Prairieland Elementary
  • Morgan Glasson, Parkside Junior High
  • Susan Steinbach, Sugar Creek Elementary
  • Kathy Rasch, Prairieland Elementary
  • Kacy Killian, Eugene Field
  • Amanda Stanko, Corpus Christi
  • Tina Thomas, Stevenson Elementary

In addition, Alison Flessnor from Tri-Valley Elementary a Project Grant for her proposed “Down on the Farm” lessons.

“Each year our teacher grant program is very competitive, and our judging panel is amazed at the unique programs teachers use to infuse agriculture into their curriculum,” says Kevin Daugherty, Director, Illinois Center for Agricultural Engagement and IAITC.

The grants are supported with funding from the IAA Foundation.

“We take pride in providing resources so teachers can continue to engage and inspire students. These grants are a meaningful way for the IAA Foundation to partner with likeminded organizations to fulfill our mission to support the future of agriculture through education,” says Susan Moore, Director of the IAA Foundation.

Partner organizations of IAITC include Illinois Farm Bureau, Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE), University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Soybean Association, Midwest Dairy Association, Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Contributions from agribusinesses and individuals also help fund foundation activities. To learn more or make a donation, visit www.iaafoundation.org. For information on IAITC, visit www.agintheclassroom.org.

Soil Your Undies Challenge

We soiled our undies for science!

The Soil Your Undies Challenge is a simple way to test soil biology/microbial activity.

Just bury a pair of 100% cotton underwear for 60 days and then dig it up to see how much has decomposed. If just the elastic remains you have healthy soil!

You can also bury 2 pairs in different spots and compare the results.

Find lesson and activity ideas to do your own Soil Your Undies Challenge here or more learning activities about soil here.

How does it work?

McLean County Ag in the Classroom sponsored a friendly competition among local FFA Chapters for the #SoilYourUndiesMcLeanCounty Challenge. Ag students buried 2 pairs of undies in 2 locations on their school grounds & then dug them up 60 days later.

Thanks to Olympia, Heyworth, Tri-Valley & Lexington FFA Chapters for participating! Check out the results of our experiments in the photos below.

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