Steve Hague1, Terry J. Gentry1, Cristine Morgan1, Tony L. Provin2, Megan Teel1 and Braden Stockton1, (1)Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2)Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas Agrilife Extension Service, College Station, TX
As each generation of young people drift further away from a farming heritage, there is a need to re-engage with K-12 students about the opportunities and responsibilities of using our natural resources to produce agricultural products. Several members of the Texas A&M University’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences connect with K-12 students in a wide range of activities. We arrange and host tours of the campus and the nearby Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension farm for students of diverse backgrounds. For FFA and 4-H youth, our soils faculty members conduct land, soil, and home site evaluation contests at state and regional levels as well as teach workshops to prepare contestants. We regularly deliver programs for local packs and dens of the Boys Scouts and Cub Scouts of America. Students in the undergraduate Agronomy Society operate an informational booth at the State 4-H Roundup, routinely present information about seeds and soils at elementary schools, and most notably grow a corn maze that attracts thousands of K-12 students each year. As a result of these efforts, we have recruited talented students into our Department, raised awareness about our Department’s mission, and given our students the opportunity to learn how to relate to the non-farming community and educate them about the importance of soils and crops to society.