Rinner receives Southeast Iowa County Services Extension Award

Washington County Extension and Outreach educator Diane Rinner was recognized at the 2022 Southeast Iowa County Services Extension Award Ceremony held in Sigourney on January 26. Rinner earned the Program Area Recognition Award in the 4-H & Youth category. She was presented this award by Extension Regional director Katharinna Bain.

Rinner provides Agriculture in the Classroom monthly lessons in five Washington County school districts. She impacts the lives of Washington County youth by helping them understand the essential role agriculture plays in their lives. She has grown the Agriculture in the Classroom program by increasing the total number of classrooms served by 400% and students by 84%. The total numbers for the 2021/2022 school year include 60 classrooms per month and 1,062 students.

In addition to classroom programs, she has provided hands-on lessons at Hilltop Dairy’s Dairy Days, Ag Exploration – at the SE Iowa Research Farm, Ag Safety Day (for all 2nd-grade students in Washington), and the Washington County Fair. Lesson examples include water conservation, corn by-products, Christmas tree farms, egg hatching, corn to ethanol, beef vs. dairy, hydroponics, and the jobs of a farmer.

Rinner is often invited to various civic groups, commodity groups, and board meetings to discuss her programming/outreach efforts and impact. As a result, Washington County Extension continues to receive generous donations from various funders.   She  has been featured on WHO radio.  Rinner has also served as a mentor for staff from other counties, as they begin their own Ag in the Classroom programs.

Impact statements from classroom teachers

  • “Mrs. Rinner was AWESOME in our classroom. Each lesson was interesting, hands-on, involved all the students and allowed for lots of questions, and gave the students some great knowledge about the area we live in!”
  • “Miss Diane set the tone for the school year with her first visit! Kids were on the edge of their seats and learned so much in a short amount of time each month.”
  • “All of your lessons had some type of hands-on piece which I loved so much! The two lessons I enjoyed the most were the cows and milk lesson and the evergreen tree lesson. Those two lessons got talked about a lot by my class.”
  • “My favorite quote from one of my kids was, ‘We get to learn about agriculture, really, like when she comes in here, we have fun projects to do and learn about careers that we might want to do for a living!’ They summed it up well, I love how she makes learning about agriculture fun for everyone.”

Washington County’s Agriculture in the Classroom and work of Rinner done in partnership with Washington County Farm Bureau and is a program largely supported by donations and sponsorships from private individuals, businesses and other community groups.  Those who have a shared interest in educating youth about where their food comes from, please contact the Washington County Extension Office on how to be a sponsor and continue this valuable outreach program for  youth.