September/October 2009| back to school

News Briefs

NAAE Webinar

Barking Up the Right Tree with TurfMutt, OPEI's New Yard Dog Science Program

Date: Thursday, September 24
Time: 3:30-5:00pm EDT




The climate change debate has pushed the need to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and reduce warming front and center. What role can turf grass play in helping our planet stay cooler and cleaner? Those questions led to research and subsequently to Weekly Reader and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's Education and Research Foundation debuting TurfMutt, the Yard Dog Science Program at Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA area schools in early September. This is the first phase of a new educational outreach program developed to teach third through fifth grade students the science behind lawns' ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), release oxygen, cool the air, control dust, reduce erosion and filter water - and to look at turf holistically, realizing that turf has its rightful place when done right and especially for greening up urban areas.

Dr. Ron Sahu, environmental researcher, will discuss the latest study showing the science behind the value of lawns and what the findings mean for a balanced discussion about the value of green spaces and Kris Kiser, EVP at OPEI will discuss the TurfMutt educational campaign, the inspiration and goals for the program, and what educators can expect to see moving forward. Mr. Kiser will also discuss why and how we need to integrate best management practices - reducing inputs and watering - into the value of lawns discussion and educational curriculum.

OPEIThis webinar is sponsored by OPEI as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.



Running for a NAAE Office?

Memorandums of Understanding due September 15th

Anyone running for NAAE Regional Secretary, Regional Vice President, President-Elect or President MUST submit a signed Memorandum of Understanding to the NAAE office
by September 15, 2009 in order to be elligible. Download a MOU at:

National Teach Ag Day - February 25, 2010


Teach Ag Day is a national campaign to encourage agricultural educators (middle school, high school, post-secondary, pre-service programs, etc.) to share with their students why they went into ag ed and encourage them to consider a career as an agricultural educator.

Teach Ag Day will be the Thursday of National FFA Week, on February 25, 2010. Promotional materials, video clips, and other items will be offered to help teachers promote the agricultural education profession.

Be sure to write the Teach Ag Day date on your calendar and plan to include a lesson on February 25th about the opportunities in agricultural education. Watch for details over the summer and opportunities to contribute your thoughts about National Teach Ag Day and being an agricultural educator.

NAAE Welcomes Ellen Thompson as Teach Ag Coordinator

To help us implement the National Teach Ag Campaign, NAAE has contracted with Ellen Thompson, a former ag educator in Minnesota. Thompson will be responsible for coordinating all Teach Ag Campaign activites in cooperation with the NAAE staff.

"Ellen is a great addition to our team," said Julie Fritsch, NAAE Communications/Marketing Coordinator. "As a recent classroom ag educator, she understands how to reach both current ag teachers and perspective ones, and she is an innovative, forward-thinking individual with a great can-do attitude."

No Better Time Than Now to Be a Teacher Mentor

Remember your first few years of teaching?  How would you describe them?  Fun … scary … enjoyable … challenging … rewarding … nerve-wracking … exciting … demanding … all of the above?

The first few years of teaching … referred to as the “induction years” by some researchers can make or break a teacher.

Do you know a first year or second year teacher who might need a word of encouragement right now, at the beginning of the school year?  Why not pick up the phone or send an e-mail message to say you are thinking of him or her and to offer your assistance when he or she has a tough question.  A quick phone call or e-mail conversation today could make the difference in an early-career teacher’s choice to stay in our profession tomorrow.

Make a positive difference in the life of another teacher.  Be a teacher mentor!  Do it today!

USDA Risk Management Lesson Plans Available

Visit the Team Ag Ed Learning Center to download a free series of lesson plans from the USDA Risk Management Agency. Four free lesson plans cover better marketing planning, using the USDA-RMA website, new enterprise planning, and risk management planning.

These lessons are in an easy-to-use, ready to go format that transfers easily from the Team Ag Ed Learning Center to your classroom. To download the lessons, visit