Jessica Casaday

ABAC student Jessica Casaday teaches children the importance of agriculture during a Destination Ag session.

TIFTON — Destination Ag provides agricultural education majors at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College the opportunity to experience teaching before they reach the curriculum required student-teaching semester.

A program at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture which connects agriculture to the daily lives of elementary school students, Destination Ag involves ABAC students in mentoring roles for children attending the field trips. ABAC students serve as the instructors to develop and teach the Destination Ag lessons. Programming includes fun, hands-on lessons focused on a variety of agricultural and natural resource topics.

Destination Ag hired nine student instructors this spring; six are agricultural education majors. The program provides vital experience for all its student instructors but especially for agricultural education majors as it helps to jump start their careers.

Lily Watson, a Newton, Ala., native majoring in agricultural education at ABAC, says Destination Ag allows her to pursue her passions while still in college. She values the opportunity to learn how to create lesson plans.

“I have a passion for agriculture but an even bigger passion for working with children,” Watson said. “As a college student, I didn’t think I could ever find anything quite like this and be able to experience as much as I do.”

Jessica Casaday, an agricultural education major from Jefferson, says Destination Ag gave her a look at everyday life as a teacher. Casaday hopes to return to her hometown to teach agriculture.

“Destination Ag incorporates children and agriculture into our everyday life,” Casaday said. “I basically get to start on my career early.”

Thanks to a gift of $250,000 from the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation to the ABAC Foundation, Destination Ag opened its doors to over 5,000 pre-k through first grade students in Tift, Colquitt, and Cook counties in 2016.  In 2017, the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation committed $1,000,000 to continue the program.

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