The 2nd and 3rd grade classes of Ellicottville Central School kicked of National Agriculture Literacy Week with stories and fun activities centered on the importance of farmers raising animals for fiber.
Fiber production is an important part of agriculture in New York State, although not a huge part of the industry. A few thousand farms in the state raise goats, sheep, alpacas, llamas and rabbits and take the fleece or hair from those animals to make fiber and, eventually, clothing or woven items.
Susan Avery, AmeriCorps volunteer with Southern Tier West Regional Planning Board, read this years featured book called “Weaving the Rainbow,” to the 2nd and 3rd grade students. The story, by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Stephanie Anderson, tells of a young girl caring for her animals and then using their fleece to make a tapestry. Following the reading students rolled up their sleeves and got their hands wet as they formed raw wool roving into felted marbles.
Now in its 10th year, Ag Literacy Week celebrated March 16 through 20, is sponsored by the New York Ag in the Classroom program. During Ag Literacy Week, volunteer readers go into second-grade classrooms and read that year’s chosen book about a certain aspect of farming.
For more information, go to www.agclassroom.org/ny/programs/literacy.htm.
Ellicottville Central School is one of many schools hosting volunteers from Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau, and AmeriCorps during Ag Literacy Week. AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. For more information on the AmeriCorps program in Cattaraugus County, contact Sue Feldbauer, Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau, at 716-938-2624 or visit www.acstart.org.