Connecting kids to agriculture and technology at Naper Settlement
Nearly two years ago, we started talking to Naper Settlement about the new agricultural education center they were building. Since we work in the agricultural sector, we knew there could be great opportunities to partner in the development of their vision.
Well, that time has come! Today we were delighted to be part of the grand opening of the Mary and Richard Benck Family Agriculture Center, a 4,000 square foot exhibition space with a state-of-the-art STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) driven center for kids to learn about careers in agriculture. Our friends at the Illinois Soybean Association jumped on board and they funded 2,500 field trips for kids to take over the next year!
Those field trips are all part of a new program called Field Watchers, developed by Naper Settlement. This is an opportunity for kids to be hands-on scientists by testing soil from an Illinois farm, learning about the food we grow in Illinois, and getting to plant their own soybean to take home. We worked hand-in-hand with Naper Settlement to develop the Field Watchers logo and branding, as well as coordinating with our farmer field partners, Jeff and Gina O’Connor to set up a livestream camera of their field.
We are honored to be part of the development of a program to bring kids closer to the ground their food is grown in (literally! We drove dirt back from Jeff’s farm for the soil testing!), and it’s so exciting to see what is in store for Field Watchers in the coming months and years. This has been close to our hearts for a long time, and seeing it come to life has been an absolute joy! Thanks to Naper Settlement for inviting us to be part of this journey with you, and to the Illinois Soybean Association for seeing the value in educating the next generation about the importance of agriculture in STEM education.