Tri-State has a longstanding reputation and strong commitment in its support of youth education programs aimed at empowering the leaders of tomorrow, as well as telling our story of the value that consumer-owned power brings to farms, ranches, businesses and communities served by the association’s 44 member co-ops.
Tri-State welcomed 12 school teachers and educators from around the country to our headquarters as part of the Ag in the Classroom program, an annual, free educators’ energy conference that was held May 15 and 16. ‘Making the Connection’ was this year’s theme and the tagline, “Energy + Agriculture = Success,” reinforces Tri-State’s commitment to enhancing the agricultural connection in our service territory.
This train-the-trainer event is aimed at training educators on the new energy curriculum created by The Ag Foundation to encourage educators to designate energy as a larger part of their students’ curriculum. The event was attended by teachers in rural schools and representatives of educational organizations that provide outreach programs such as Ag in the Classroom and various farm bureaus.
Barbara Walz, senior vice president/policy and compliance, chief compliance officer, and Gigi Dennis, senior manager of external affairs welcomed the educators and gave an overview of Tri-State. Liz Fiddes, director of member services and education at Colorado Rural Electric Association presented on the importance of engaging youth in education. A highlight of the energy conference was a guided tour of Tri-State’s Frank R. Knutson Generating Station in Brighton, Colo.
An important goal of the program was to provide tools for educators to effectively reach out and actively engage students during their own agricultural programs. The agenda featured sessions on tailoring an outreach plan and utilizing available marketing resources. A popular activity during the day was “Explore and Explain Presentations” designed to enhance the message to students regarding the connection between energy resources and agriculture. At the end of the conference the trainers received energy kits, lesson plans and other instructional materials that will help them customize their own classroom energy curriculum to encourage students to learn more about energy and the electric industry.