Livingston CCE incubation, embryology project expands for second straight year

Last year, the project reached 1,112 youth in Grades Pre-K through 12 in every school district and most private schools.

From news reports

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County Ag in the Classroom Program is expanding its Incubation & Embryology project for the second straight year.

The idea for the project came in November 2020 as the Ag in the Classroom program held their first-ever Turkey Tour! Educator Bernadette Harwood visited Livingston County elementary schools with a live tom and hen and talked about raising turkeys on her farm.

Since many students were unaware of what turkeys looked like, the Ag in the Classroom staff came together with a plan to help students and teachers develop first-hand knowledge of how farmers care for their animals - and the science behind those practices in agriculture.

So far, 76 teachers from Mt. Morris, Dansville, Wayland-Cohocton, Avon, Livonia, Caledonia-Mumford, York, Keshequa, Geneseo, Lima-Christian, and St. Agnes have signed up to participate in the 2022 Incubation & Embryology project.

For the Incubation & Embryology project, classrooms are provided with all of the necessary materials, including an incubator, fertile eggs, chick waterer and feeder, shavings, and more. Teachers also receive science-based resource manuals and student activity books developed by Ag in the Classroom Educator Bernadette Harwood and Program Coordinator Jenn Schwab. Classes are given the option of joining staff-led virtual lessons where students learn how to candle eggs, perform science experiments with non-fertile eggs, and more.

Last year, the project reached 1,112 youth in Grades Pre-K through 12 in every school district and most private schools.

Avon teacher Leah Young said, “Being an agricultural community, the Embryology project was a natural fit into our Life Science program. Students were consistently engaged on an increased level which can be challenging in today's digital world.”

Keshequa Pre-K teacher Kammy Snyder said, "As a Pre-K teacher, my classes have participated in the Embryology project for several years. This ties in nicely with our animals unit and provides an opportunity for the students to see the life cycle first hand. Students are excited to observe and track the progress of the eggs through candling. The excitement of Hatch Day is felt throughout the class, the whole school and at home! Past students still reflect on our eggs/chicks! I also love the way the students show compassion and caring towards the chicks once they hatch."

So far, 76 teachers from Mt. Morris, Dansville, Wayland-Cohocton, Avon, Livonia, Caledonia-Mumford, York, Keshequa, Geneseo, Lima-Christian, and St. Agnes have signed up to participate in the 2022 Incubation & Embryology project. Due to the level of interest, the project is being broken up into three segments with teachers participating in either March, April, or June.

Teacher Jen Amrhein added, “The Incubation & Embryology project is well loved by students and teachers that participate at Keshequa Primary. This is a wonderful hands-on learning experience for our students. Taking care of the eggs and the excitement of hatching them supports students' learning.”

This year’s project will see some minor changes based on feedback from the teachers who participated in 2021. The activity books designed to go along with the project will see a few new activities. Some schools will also receive a lesson from CCE Livingston County’s new Nutrition educator, Lucille Tang.

Due to the cost associated with the project, CCE Livingston County is seeking sponsors to help purchase supplies and equipment. It costs $225 to supply one classroom (15 students) with everything needed for the 21-day project. Altogether, the CCE Livingston County Ag in the Classroom program hopes to raise $7,000 this year.

If you’re interested in learning more about sponsoring the 2022 Incubation & Embryology project, or the Livingston County Ag in the Classroom program as a whole, contact Bernadette Harwood at beh53@cornell.edu or 585-755-2703 | Jenn Schwab at jls669@cornell.edu or 585-991-5439.