Friday, June 27, 2008

The "Rocking" Tree Farmer

AFB: Rolling Stones Rocker Calls for More Agriculture & Nature Education

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2008 — Today’s children are increasingly disconnected from the natural world and schools can play a big role in fixing this. That’s the message Chuck Leavell, Rolling Stones keyboardist, shared during his keynote address at the Ag in the Classroom conference in Costa Mesa, Calif., this week. Leavell addressed the teachers present not as a musician but as a Georgia tree farmer and the author of the 2007 American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year The Tree Farmer.

Leavell told the group of more than 500 attendees he wrote his book in response to what he calls “nature-deficit disorder,” where younger generations don’t understand or appreciate nature and agriculture. He adds that classrooms are the ideal place to fix this but teachers are facing increased pressure to teach towards standardized tests.

“Programs like Ag in the Classroom and the American Forest Foundation’s Project Learning Tree help educators make outdoor experiences part of their everyday lesson plans,” Leavell said. “They teach core subjects through experiences in nature and show that learning through environmental education is not incompatible with math and reading instruction.” He adds that this method has also been shown to improve test scores.

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