Learning Is Fun, Isn’t It?
By Andrew Joannides
Greetings from Cheyenne and from the new executive director for Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC). I haven’t been in the saddle here long; however, I have been having fun immersing myself in this organization and exploring how we are aligned statewide.
As much fun as we are having, I want to take a moment to give an update on WAIC and how the WAIC team has been working diligently to implement and expand the Wyoming Stewardship Project (WSP) and curriculum into our state’s elementary schools.
As you know, this wonderful state is a leader in numerous industries, and at the forefront is agriculture. At WAIC, it is our duty to help provide our children with the tools to move through their educational journey with a high level of understanding of Wyoming’s economic drivers. It is our dream to empower the youth of this state to become great stewards of our land and its resources.
I grew up in Cheyenne and wasn’t involved directly in agriculture, but I firmly believe if my incredible teachers at Hobbs Elementary School used the WSP state standards-aligned curriculum like they do today, my path as a young person would have shifted. Nonetheless, I get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give back and help make a difference in our next generation.
More than ever, we need our students to understand agriculture, minerals, energy and outdoor recreation and tourism. It will make a difference in their trajectory and the future of our state.
How incredibly lucky we are that Wyoming provides us with such a diverse and high-quality agricultural environment. In the agricultural pillar of our curriculum, we provide classrooms with a vast amount of information: where certain crops grow best; how Wyoming is unique in land and livestock; how livestock is cared for and who is involved; how ranchers are good stewards; livestock characteristics; hay meadow ecosystems; and even food webs.
I also want to brag about this organization a little bit. It is filled with amazing people embracing its history and future. If you have been involved with this organization in years past, or are involved currently, thank you.
There is no doubt without your assistance, the WSP would not be where it is today. Our curriculum usage has jumped by 49 percent since 2021. This is great news and shows incredible progress as we move towards our 2025 goal of having the WSP in 50 percent of Wyoming classrooms, grades two through five.
As we are in a season of gratitude, I am grateful for our family, friends and partners around the state. Our teachers are the lifeline to our children’s education, and we will continue to help provide them with the means necessary to get this curriculum into more classrooms. However, we still need financial support to continue to achieve this mission.
There is a donation envelope inserted in this week’s edition of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. If you would like to support our efforts, please return the envelope to us or donate online at wyaitc.org. You can contact us via phone at 307-369-1749 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for going to work every day for Wyoming and our future generations.
Andrew Joannides is the executive director of Wyoming Ag in the Classroom. He can be reached at email@example.com.