Cambridge Ag Corps continues for second summer

Student interns help make the Severson Learning Center a vibrant place for community education and engagement

July 31, 2017 |

From Left to Right: Gary Funk, director, Rural Schools Collaborative, Dean Lund, Dean Lund American Family Insurance Agency, Karen Stenjem, Cambridge FFA Alumni lead, Kade Vethe and Adam Gunnelson, 2017 Ag Corps members, Dr. Bernie Nikolay, Cambridge School Superintendent, and Jennifer Scianna, Severson Learning Center Director.

CAMBRIDGE, WI — The Severson Learning Center summer internship program is well into its second season thanks to collaborative grant coordinated by the Rural Schools Collaborative and funded by the Cambridge FFA Alumni Association, Dean Lund American Family Insurance Agency and American Family Insurance.

The internship program, also called the Cambridge High School Ag Corps, employs two Cambridge area high school students or alumni to do summer-long work at the school district’s Severson Learning Center farm, outdoor learning center, and school garden complex. This year’s corps is comprised of two returning interns who also worked last season at the farm. Adam Gunnelson, a Northland College student and Cambridge alum, and Kade Vethe, who will be a senior at Cambridge High School this upcoming year, have spent the past several weeks doing myriad projects to help with maintenance and improvements around the Center.

“This year we are working on a few projects,” said Gunnelson, “we’ve been removing buckthorn and clearing space for a students to learn about geology, over in the forested part of the Learning Center.”

In addition to maintaining the garden spaces and facilities, Gunnelson and Vethe have mowed trails, created comfortable and deliberate outdoor learning spaces, and installed interpretive signage throughout the 80-acre complex. They also recently hosted the Wisconsin “Ag in the Classroom” bus tour, which brings Wisconsin teachers from throughout the state to different locations to learn about agriculture and how to incorporate ag-based curriculum in their own classes. The Severson Learning Center serves as an example of how a local family’s generous land donation now provides infinite multidisciplinary place-based learning opportunities for students of all ages throughout the district.

“This really is a great asset,” said Lund, “and we want to support whatever the community and school needs in this place.”

The Rural Schools Collaborative is committed to the concept that small towns and schools get better together. This year its Grants in Place effort awarded more than $136,000 in place-based learning grants throughout the country. Cambridge serves as home to the Rural Schools Collaborative's operations office.

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