Darleen Horton receives Excellence in Ag Literacy Award

Posted on Dec 6, 2014
darleen horton
Darleen Horton (left) receives the 2014 Excellence in Ag Literacy Award from Scott Christmas (right), KFB's Director of Agricultural Education, Women and Young Farmer Programs

Louisville, KY (December 6, 2014) – Darleen Horton, a teacher at Cane Run Elementary School in Jefferson County, is the recipient of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 2014 Excellence in Ag Literacy Award. The announcement was made at the organization’s 95th annual meeting, held at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville.

KFB’s Excellence in Ag Literacy Award recognizes and rewards teachers who excel in their efforts to incorporate agricultural concepts throughout their core curriculum. Nominations were made for a variety of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers who use their classrooms to help students comprehend the value of agriculture as it impacts their personal well-being economically, environmentally and socially.

For winning the award, Horton received $500 cash and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Louisville, KY, June 16-20, 2015, where she will represent Kentucky in the national competition.

Horton began her teaching career in 1974 but just joined the staff at Cane Run Elementary in 2009. Upon her arrival, she made it her personal mission to bring agricultural concepts not only into her classroom but also to the entire school. She quickly secured partnerships with local businesses and began building a series of raised garden beds at the school for growing vegetables and initiating an outdoor classroom teaching concept. Horton then guided her fellow teachers on the various ways to use these gardens to lead students through lessons covering everything from science and math to social studies, writing and fine arts.

“A huge disconnect in our country is related to the connection between farming and the diner table,” Horton said in her application for the award. “Using school gardens to engage children through gardening from the soil to the table is almost magical in the way children grow in ag literacy. Nature becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the facilitator.”

Horton’s ag-focused efforts and lessons have also transformed the school’s physical appearance. Before her arrival, Cane Run Elementary sat on a fairly typical, and plain, plot of land. Horton has taken her passion for ag education and used it to create for the school a total of 35 raised garden beds, a Native American Garden, pond with a stream and waterfall, decomposing log, pollinator gardens, fitness trail, sun dial, physical science space and an in-ground map of Kentucky.

Described by those who recommended her for the award as one who has a “raging passion for teaching” and “strives to provide an engaging learning environment,” Horton believes that “more than plants grow in our gardens.”

Horton graduated with an undergraduate degree from Western Kentucky University and her graduate teaching certification in elementary education from the University of Louisville. During her career she has taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels and is currently a member of numerous state and national educational associations.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Cane Run Elementary School, Darleen Horton, Excellence in Ag Literacy Award, Galt House, Garden, Jefferson County, National Ag in the Classroom, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University