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Source: DuPont news release

Through the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy (NATAA), DuPont has invited 49 of the nation's finest agricultural science teachers to the company's Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, Md., to enhance their teaching techniques in order to heighten their students' agriscience educational experience in classrooms across the country.

The NATAA "Ag Academy" is a professional development institute sponsored by DuPont Science & Technology and is a special project of the National FFA Foundation and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). The highly recommended agriscience teachers, participating in two sessions (June 15-20 and July 13-18), will learn techniques and exciting new approaches that, when brought back to the classroom, will invigorate students to learn more about agriscience and its vital role in helping create a healthier, more sustainable future.

"By understanding global initiatives such as feeding the world and sustainability, teachers learn how to engage their students in real 21st century issues and finding real solutions," said Rik L. Miller, president, DuPont Crop Protection. "The Ag Academy embodies the professional development component and boosts the enthusiasm necessary to help students flourish in agriscience-related fields."

"The Academy's program trains agriscience teachers on how to amplify the science that is already present in agriculture as well as develop students as problem solvers and thinkers," said Jay Jackman, executive director of NAAE. "By bringing this practice back to their home states, students explore the many dimensions of agriscience from agribusiness to science and math. The overall result is that it elevates student achievement as measured by standardized tests."

Over the past 11 years, the Academy has trained 229 "Ag Ambassadors" who, in their roles as trainers, have presented workshops to more than 12,000 teachers across the United States including Puerto Rico and Alaska having a direct impact on over a million students.

Ag Academy participants learn innovative teaching concepts with a majority of their training time in hands-on activities on Chesapeake Farms 3,300-acre working farm. The dual farm and classroom approach is designed to invigorate teachers and to infuse that learning experience in the classroom with their students.

The two sessions will be facilitated by Ag Ambassadors and workshop trainers, having over 100 years of combined teaching experience. LAB-AIDS of Ronkonkoma, NY, developed the training curriculum, which focuses on agricultural science, sustainability, natural resources, horticulture and veterinary science. This year, food safety and food security will be an important emphasis.

This year's graduates will become the newest crop of Ag Ambassadors. Selected teachers will lead seminars and workshops at the Agriscience Institute during the 2014 annual National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., and the 2014 National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The NAAE is a federation of state agricultural educators associations with more than 8,000 members. Currently NAAE is focusing on advocacy for agricultural education as well as professional development for recruitment and retention of agricultural educators. NAAE offers a variety of programs and services to support this mission.

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