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Teacher Appreciation Week: Thank you Biofuel Educators!

Over the past 8 months our Ethanol Plant Tour Grant program has met resounding success. This program has seen over 260 students tour the inside of their local ethanol plant to learn more about this vital Minnesota-grown industry and the important future it holds for rural America.

We’d like to take advantage of Teacher Appreciation Week to give a heartfelt shout out to all the educators who welcomed the opportunity to enhance their student’s education about the clean green biofuels sector.

The students, ranging all the way from 9-12 grade learned several different components of ethanol production during the tours including incoming grain grading, grain handling, fermentation, grain storage, dried distiller grain production and storage, liquefaction, fermentation and ethanol storage and shipment.

The tours also conveyed jobs skills necessary to work on an ethanol plant.

Teacher Appreciation Week 6Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial High School visits Janesville’s Guardian Energy.

Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial’s agriculture and science teacher, Mike Thofson said the tour provided his students with a deeper understanding of the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed for employment at an ethanol plant.

“My students need to see first-hand the jobs that are available to them and what the work environment is like,” he said.

Teacher Appreciation Week 5Long Prairie Grey Eagle High School touring Benson’s Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co-op.

Long Prairie Grey Eagle High School’s agriculture teacher, Curt Gjerstad echoed the sentiment by saying he expects some of his students will consider pursuing careers in the biofuel industry.

“Ethanol production will continue to be a renewable energy source and viable career for Minnesota graduates,” Gjerstad said.

Other teachers used the tour has a platform to talk about the clean energy aspect of biofuels and it’s emerging alternative fuel benefits.

Teacher Apprecation Week 3Owatonna Senior High tours Claremont’s Al-Corn Clean Fuel.

Owatonna Senior High School’s agriculture teacher, Elizabeth Tinaglia said her school's agriculture curriculum includes educating students on renewable energy sources currently being used in the United States such as biofuels, wind and solar and agricultural commodities that can be converted to alternative energy sources.

“The tour will provide students with current research and application of “Going Green” with alternative energy.”

Teacher Apprecation Week 7Butterfield-Odin High School touring Heron Lake’s Heron Lake BioEnergy.

Ben Petzel, science teacher at Butterfield-Odin said the tour also educated his students on the value and necessity of alternative fuel sources.

“I wanted my students to visit an ethanol plant because we study alternative fuels in earth science and chemical reactions in chemistry. This year we specifically learned how to balance the chemical reaction that takes place when ethanol is burned.”

Teacher APprecation Week 2Pipestone Area High School tours Lamberton’s Highwater Ethanol.

Richard Schroyer, a biology teacher at Pipestone Area High School, stated:

“I think it is very important to expose students to alternative energy resources, especially the ones right in our own backyards,”

Educators also touted the agricultural and community prosperity that result from backyard homegrown renewable energy.

Teacher Apprecation Week 4Central High School Norwood visits Winthrop’s Heartland Corn Products.

Jim Mesik, agriculture teacher at Central High School, mentioned that:

“We were interested in the tour so we can learn about this renewable energy source that is so important to Minnesota’s agriculture economy. This will also help make the students more informed fuel consumers,” he said.

Teacher Appreciation Day 1Sibley East High School tours Winthrop’s Heartland Corn Products.

Jeff Eppen, agriculture science teacher at Sibley East High School said it was important for students to get a better understanding of the ethanol industry and how it is produced.

“A unique part about agricultural education is the instructor, students and community help decide the curriculum for their school. We as a school have decided that we want biofuels as a part of our Ag education,” he said.