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Southwest Iowa teacher helps connect children to agriculture

Yvonne Gaul, pictured front and center, helps connect young children to agriculture through Ag Festival.

An elementary teacher helps connect children to agriculture through a hands-on agriculture festival.

Yvonne Gaul teaches Kindergarten at Shelby County Catholic School in Harlan. Mrs. Gaul says the idea for an agricultural festival stemmed from a reality. Agriculture was no longer a part of these children’s lives.

“I knew agriculture was becoming less and less a part of the children’s lives,” Mrs. Gaul said. “I wanted to get as many children together as possible to experience agriculture.”

Originally, Mrs. Gaul hoped to educate the children about agricultural jobs in Iowa.

“When I contacted a lot of them (vendors), I wanted them to portray the number of jobs in agriculture because I think we need these young people coming back to Iowa. My original goal was that they would learn what jobs were available here in Iowa in agricultural,” Mrs. Gaul said.

Last year, Shelby County Catholic School hosted the “first” Shelby County Ag Festival. The festival featured four agricultural vendors and did not meet its expectations. However, Mrs. Gaul remained determined to get children excited about agriculture.

Last night, the school hosted the “second” Shelby County Ag Festival at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Tears flowed from Gaul’s face as she reflected on the night.

“I put my heart into this event. It chokes me up because it has meant so much to me,” Mrs. Gaul said. “I love agriculture and what it has done to my family, and I want every child to experience that.”

The festival hosted 40 agricultural vendors and welcomed 200+ children, parents and grandparents. Gaul hopes the event will grow even larger next year.