Ringgold Elementary School teacher Alisa Nepp (front row, second from right) and her students accept congratulations and prizes for winning the fourth-grade division of the Fall 2021 Healthy Forest, Healthy Communities STEM Challenge. Offering congratulations and presenting the prizes were (front row, from left) are Georgia Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director Katie Sponberger, Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Lily Baucom, and Catoosa County Farm Bureau Office Manager Rhonda Cawood (far right).

Congratulations to Alisa Nepp’s fourth-grade class at Ringgold Elementary School for winning its grade division of the Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities STEM Challenge held last fall.

The science, technology, engineering and math challenge asked students to explore the role healthy forests play in creating healthy communities by protecting our air, soil and water resources. The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, a nonprofit organization that promotes the conservation of natural resources, partnered with the Georgia Ag Experience and Georgia Foundation for Agriculture to offer the contest.

In their winning video, the RES “Nepp-Tunes” team demonstrated their forestry knowledge and strong acting ability by posing as forest creatures to show the perspective of a healthy forest. Nepp’s class won a $250 classroom supply grant and an educational conservation resource kit donated by the GACD for winning the fifth-grade division.

Each class that participated in the STEM challenge was asked to answer the question, “What is the relationship between forests and our communities?” The challenge, open to third- through fifth-grade classes statewide, required participating classes to explore how tree farmers grow a sustainable crop and the products consumers use every day that are made from trees.

The challenge required participating classes to use provided resources to engage, explore, test and improve, share results and reflect. For the final presentation, the students were asked to create a video presentation including demonstrated knowledge of the relationship between communities and the need for tree resources, and include a discussion on sustainability and non-sustainability.

Teachers interested in participating in the spring ’22 Great Georgia Pollinator Protectors STEM Challenge may visit for more information and to register. Once teachers register their class, they will receive instant access to a digital toolkit that equips the class to participating in the pollinator stem challenge. April 29 is the deadline to enter.

The Georgia Ag Experience/Georgia Foundation for Agriculture STEM Challenge is designed to be a bi-annual competition with a spring and fall contest. The GACD is the 2022 challenge partner. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage elementary teachers and students in grades 3-5 to explore aspects of Georgia agriculture by applying their STEM skills to solve real-world problems that farmers face in producing our food and fiber.


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