Casselton teacher wins national award

Created: 3/25/13 (Mon) | Topic: Education

Mary Kensok, a fourth grade teacher at Central Cass Elementary in Casselton, has been awarded the “Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture” award. The award is given to five educators annually at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference. Kensok will be honored at the conference in Minneapolis in June.
”Kensok’s classroom is always bursting with activity” says Gail Bakko, who nominated Kensok for the award. “Her hands-on teaching style creatively connects abstract concepts to concrete understanding. Mary Kensok believes that learning is all about making connections. Agriculture is a vital area that connects our world – people, food, land and life.”
Her commitment to students the past 25+ years has included such activities as incubating eggs annually, to a class pizza garden, to studying soil horizons as a way to motivate students and to incorporate agriculture literacy into their daily learning.
Additional awards for her students include a Soil Conservation grant to purchase a butterfly/pollinator garden. A Community Foundation award enabled them to build raised beds next to their classroom windows. Another garden project made possible by the County Extension service was for a tomato container garden. All of these efforts have heightened the interest of the students in conservation and ability to grow food they will enjoy while at the same time understanding how agriculture is tied into many aspects of their daily lives.
Annual community programs implemented for the students include: “Farming Around,” which teaches about the commodities grown in our local agriculture community; making “Bread in a Bag” and applying knowledge of wheat as a major crop in our area; and “The Living Ag Classroom,” which is a fieldtrip that teaches about production agriculture, careers, conservation and animal agriculture.
“The commitment of improving agriculture literacy for our next generation of voters and decision makers is never ending and enjoyable at the same time,” Kensok says.

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