They say time flies by when you’re having fun, and this summer I have experienced that first hand! As the summer Agriculture in the Classroom intern, I presented to teachers at Summer Agriculture Institutes around the great state of Illinois and spread the word about corn.
This past week I had the opportunity to go to two Summer Agriculture Institutes in the same day, Vermillion and Champaign County.
My Vermillion County presentation consisted of information about ethanol, products made from corn, and activities and lesson plans teachers can use in their classrooms. I was asked great questions, most of which related to ethanol. Many teachers wanted to know whether the corn being used for ethanol will take away from the amount of corn being used in food and various products. This is an easy assumption to make, but as I explained to the teachers there is an abundance of corn grown in Illinois every year. While ethanol is the #1 user of corn in the US, there is more than enough corn produced each year to fulfill our product and food needs.
After the Vermillion County SAI, I traveled to Champaign County to present to a Horticulture focused institute about the five different types of corn as well as their uses. I loved informing the teachers about how different the types of corn are grown and processed. Ethanol, as a field corn by-product, was also a hot topic with teachers. Many of them were curious for information about E-85 pricing and national effects of its usage. I was able to discuss with them that ethanol is cheaper than regular gasoline by almost $1.00 and using E-85 will allow the US to reduce its dependency on foreign oil.
Every day of my internship as been different, and there was never a dull moment. Each institute brought a different set of questions and a learning experience for the teachers as well as myself.