Juniors in Dutchess BOCES Careers in Animal and Plant Science (CAPS) class and Future Farmers of America club visited Salt Point Center Tuesday to share knowledge and their excitement about agriculture with the younger students as part of Agricultural Literacy Week March 18-22.
Each year during this week, members of the agricultural community statewide visit their local classrooms to read a selected book. This year’s book, “I Love Strawberries,” written by Shannon Anderson with art by Jaclyn Sinquett, is about Jolie, a young girl who is determined to prove to herself and her parents that she can grow a successful strawberry patch. After hearing the story, SPC students completed an activity with help from the visiting students. 

“It was a good experience. It was really nice interacting with the younger students and keeping them engaged,” shared CAPS student Chase Figueroa. “They seemed to enjoy the book and the activity in which they placed stickers on a worksheet to make a step-by-step diagram of the growing process of a strawberry plant.” 

SPC student Cameron Hartman shared what he learned, “Strawberries grow in dirt, with water and sun,” he said. “Strawberries are good for you.” His classmate, Delvin Rodriguez-Garcia added that his favorite sticker during the activity was of the mature plant. 

Allison Hernandez shared a new fact that fascinated her. “I learned that ladybugs eat bugs so they don’t hurt the strawberries,” the SPC student said. 
To prepare for the day, CAPS students learned about reading aloud and preparing for a lesson. “It’s really important that the students practice being teachers all throughout the year,” shared CAPS teacher Rebecca Cossa. “They're always getting public speaking experiences where they develop confidence and pride in their abilities and their knowledge, and then these skills can be applied to so many things. It also shows them they can do things they’ve never done and come out the other side better for it.” 
Destiny Velasquez recognized how she used these skills throughout the experience. “I tried to interact with each student and make eye contact throughout the story,” she shared. Velasquez also enjoyed answering questions about strawberries. 

New York Agriculture in the Classroom provided the books and materials. At the end of the activity for Agricultural Literacy Week, a copy of “I Love Strawberries” was donated to each participating SPC classroom library.