Georgia elementary classes in third through fifth grades are being challenged to put their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to work to explore the role healthy forests play in creating healthy communities by protecting air, soil and water resources.
Elementary teachers and their students may enter the fall 2021 Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities STEM Challenge by Nov. 12 for the chance to win a prize package totaling $350 for their class. The top grade winner from the third, fourth and fifth grade entries will each win a prize package. The winners will be announced later in November.
The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD), a non-profit organization that works with the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts to promote the conservation of natural resources, is sponsoring the statewide competition, which is being coordinated by the Georgia Ag Experience (GAE) and Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA).
Teachers interested in participating in the Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities STEM Challenge may visit www.gfb.ag/stemchallenge for more information and to register for the program. Once teachers register their class, they will receive access to a digital resource toolkit that equips the class for participating in the Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities STEM challenge.
“The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts is excited to partner with the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture on its second statewide STEM Challenge,” said GACD Executive Director Katie Sponberger. “This challenge, which focuses on the importance of forests, will help students understand and appreciate Georgia’s diverse natural resources and learn how to conserve those resources for future generations.”
Each participating class is being asked to explore products used every day that are made from trees and how tree farmers grow a sustainable crop.
The GACD is also holding its annual poster contest this fall with the theme of “Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities.” Schools that submit their STEM Challenge entries by Nov. 1 and indicate they wish to be considered for the annual GACD Poster Contest will also be considered for the prizes that contest offers.
“We developed the Georgia Ag Experience/Georgia Foundation for Agriculture STEM challenge as a way to connect elementary students to Georgia agriculture. Every year students will have a new opportunity to solve a real world ag problem with a different community partner,” said GFA Executive Director Lily Baucom.
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 food and fiber.
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 2021 challenge sponsor.