The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) recently received a $30,000 grant from the DuPont Pioneer Giving Program to host the Ag Biotechnology Academy. This program introduced 41 science teachers to the content and skills necessary for teaching biotechnology and other related agriculture topics.
“The goals of the Ag Biotechnology Academy run parallel with the DuPont Pioneer Giving Program. A main focus is to support science education; partnering to provide training for high school science educators reaches the source of tomorrow’s bright science and agriculture minds,” said Rebekah Peck, communications manager at DuPont Pioneer.
While attending the two-day conference, teachers participated in several activities including an interactive panel led by farmer and industry leaders who discussed their personal experiences with biotechnology.
“The Ag Biotechnology Academy has been extremely beneficial for the new Ag Biotechnology program at Anthony Wayne High School, a satellite of Penta Career Center,” said Whitney Short, Anthony Wayne High School agriculture teacher. “I have learned invaluable skills and ideas to use in the classroom, which have engaged my students at a higher cognitive level. It has also been great to connect with other teachers and build a network to support each other and gain ideas from others throughout the year.”
Teachers had the opportunity to tour biotechnology labs at DuPont Pioneer in Napoleon where they also toured test fields and got a firsthand look at the technology and equipment soybean researchers use to help farmers produce an abundant food supply.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be involved with this outstanding program,“ Short said. “Agricultural biotechnology is key in feeding the growing population and this program has truly educated teachers about how we can be a part of this.”
Among other activities, the group heard from industry professionals in the area of plant breeding and genetics, animal agriculture, bioproducts, and also participated in hands-on activities where they tested soy-based cleaners. Each participant left with curriculum and take-home materials that connect agriculture and science, which can be implemented in their classrooms.
“I really enjoyed seeing the science and agriculture concepts apply to real life settings,” said Pam Snyder, Fort Hayes Career Center for Columbus City Schools who teaches BioScience Technology. “All the teachers are so appreciative of the supplies that we were able to take home and can utilize in the classroom.”
Additional funding for the Ag Biotechnology Academy was made possible through the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and OSCF, organizations directed by soybean farmers from throughout the state.
“Professional development is essential to build the agriscience workforce necessary for Ohio in the 21st century,” said John Motter, OSC chairman and soybean farmer from Hancock County. “Biotechnology is a hot topic today and the knowledge gained from the workshop will make it easy for teachers to connect real-world biotechnology in the classroom.”