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Sherisa Nailor

For Such a Time as This

Posted by Sherisa Nailor Jun 30, 2020

For such a time as this.


You may not be familiar with this scripture, but I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about Esther 4:14.  The last three months have surely been a whirlwind of a ride. However, I believe there may be some silver linings to this experience.


For years, I have heard our profession express lofty wishes.  We wish communities and schools would see the educational value we provide to all students.  We wish there was a way to reach more students in more schools.  We wish there was a way to reduce the burnout on our teachers and colleagues.  Well, maybe Agriculture Education is the key for such a time as this!


I can’t help but think we are on the brink of an amazing outcome.  We have been given a platform to really showcase our strengths as a profession and our value in schools and communities.  We have been given a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of Ag Ed. We have been forced to deliver agriculture education through new platforms and with strategic variety.  Coincidence?  I think not.


As NAAE looks to progress forward through the coming months, may we all take the time we have been given to rejuvenate our passion and energy for agriculture education.  Use this summer to brainstorm what agriculture education could look like moving forward, knowing that the fall return to school will likely look much different than today! 


Think outside the box.  Collaborate across the country.  Reach out to distant colleagues.  Check on students, current and past.  Spend more time with family and loved ones.  Support your schools and communities.  Stress the essentials of life—food, fiber and fuel.  Reconnect with what is important to you.  


Agriculture educators, what if we were made for such a time as this?


In solidarity,

Sherisa Nailor

NAAE President-Elect



Footnote: Check out the following NAAE initiatives...

1.  NAAE Virtual Book Study

2.  Virtual CASE Institutes

3.  Regional and State Association Meetings

4.  Strategic Planning Survey

I would have never thought that in my teaching career, I would see a situation like we are in right now.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that in teaching, you have to be prepared for anything!


I hope this message finds you safe and well.  I know that covid-19 is affecting each of our communities differently, and our governments are responding in different ways.  Many of you haven't been in the same room with your students since March, while a few of you have started back with students this week.


I certainly have a lot to learn, but here are some observations I've made:

  • Our nation and our states are very diverse.  The impact of the virus and our response to it varies widely.  I think it's cool to see the successes that different approaches have yielded.  That makes for good discussion with students.
  • I've been surprised by my students.  Sometimes I thought a remote lesson would be a hit, and it flopped.  Other times, I had lower expectations, and I was got more response than I bargained for.  
  • I've had a lot of success breaking things into smaller chunks.  Students seem to respond better to shorter, more frequent quick questions.
  • Thank goodness for NAAE programming!  I know many CASE certified teachers have maintained high quality instruction thanks to the support and materials provided by the initiative.  The professional development workshops have also been helpful for many teachers.  I've heard great comments about the workshops.
  • The National FFA programming has also been helpful.  The virtual field trips have been some of my most successful remote lessons.
  • There have also been some great online networking and social opportunities put on by states and regions.  Thank you for that outlet!
  • It's ok to not have all the answers.  I think we've done a great job with the hand we have been dealt.  I'm hopeful that we can return to being with our students sooner rather than later, but I know one thing.  No matter what happens in the future, NAAE will be there to support you!

Be safe and well.  Take care, and don't forget to share your own successes!

From Sherisa Nailor:


Happy spring!  Four short months ago, I stood before those in attendance at the NAAE Convention and challenged our organization and profession to change the status quo.  Little did I know just how timely and real that message would be to educators across the country.


Our task as educators certainly has a different look than it did two weeks ago.  And, among the hustle and bustle of navigating new instructional methods, we are also tasked with managing student leaders from a distance, making contingency plans for events and competitions, and assuring our students and members that we will persevere and survive this unprecedented time.  The key for them, as it is for us, is to work together!  #NAAEBetterTogether


If you have not had a chance to engage with agricultural educators across the nation who are facing the same struggles as you, I hope that you will find that connection this week.  If you are in need of materials, lesson ideas, and resources for delivering instruction virtually, check out Communities of Practice, Ag Ed Discussion Lab, or follow NAAE on FaceBook and Twitter.  In times like this, more than even before, we need each other as sounding boards and a support system.  #NAAEBetterTogether


My hope for you in the coming months is that you find time to connect in a way like never before.  Use this time to engage in some self-care, try a new lesson format or activity, challenge your students to discover their own learning, finesse a hobby, finish reading that book, spend quality time with family.  Sometimes the world has a funny way of making us all slow down and appreciate life for what it is.  #NAAEBetterTogether


In times like these, great organizations need leaders, but we also need an engaged tribe who is willing to challenge the status quo at the grassroots level, and lead the charge for change and innovation.  Reach out to your colleagues, even if just to share in common struggles.  Your NAAE leadership team is here for you and whatever you need, just reach out.  We are all in this together, #NAAEBetterTogether.

Congratulations to the 2019 NAAE Award Winners! In December, NAAE gathered in Anaheim, California to celebrate a dedication to agricultural education, professional development and the achievements of professionals across the country. From learning new lessons from our innovative Ideas Unlimited winners to honoring the careers of our Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, the 2019 NAAE Convention was jam packed with energy and excitement! Other highlights from the 2019 NAAE Convention include hearing from ACTE leaders, learning more about inclusion and diversity from Dr. Roger Cleveland and hearing from Mark Poeschl, National FFA CEO.


We’d also like to thank our award sponsors for their dedication and commitment to agriculture education and for their continued support. Award sponsors include RAM Trucks, Caterpillar Inc., Tractor Supply Company, John Deere and Bayer.



Since 2013, Culver's Thank You Farmers Project has donated over $2.5 million to support agricultural education programs. When guests come to Culver's, they're helping support agricultural education and FFA around the country. Watch this video to learn how the Waupun FFA Chapter is building tomorrow's leaders and innovators with support from Culver's.





By Eric Tilleman 


Well it’s 2020 and most of us have been rolling through semester tests or have started a new semester with new students. Maybe new classes and the realization of the mountain of work you will have over the next couple of months. I know I have started to see the mound of applications from my students keep rising from proficiency applications, state degrees, CDE/LDE papers and just the day to day school work and wonder how we can keep the sanity as a teacher. A few years ago, my mom saw I was getting frustrated and she sent me a cartoon in the mail. It had a dragon picking it’s teeth with the lance of a knight and it said “Remember…  No Matter How Hard you work… No matter How right you are…  Sometimes the Dragon Wins.” It made me laugh and take a good look at what I could do to mitigate my work load. I am one who is always looking at ways to help improve my teaching method or to find ways to make the ag profession easier for people.

One tool I have found to help me is the tools on Communities of Practice (CoP) where each of the regions have their upcoming information on regional meetings. I know for me the regional meetings as well as NAAE conventions help to rejuvenate my teachers’ batteries with new ideas, cutting edge lessons, beneficial collaboration and renewed love of teaching.

Please take time to be a driving force in the NAAE by volunteering to serve on a committee and take a look at the links to the 7 committees on CoP.  Then you can see what the committees will be discussing at the winter virtual meetings and even when their meetings are happening over the next couple of weeks. We are a grassroots organization and the committees play a vital role in the development of our organization. Lastly, there are many lesson plans, worksheets and teacher tips and tricks to help blaze though the second semester. I know I like to add new lessons to each class to make sure I never fall into a rut as a teacher.

As we are taking time to help our students with their applications, I hope you can take time to explore the ag teachers’ programs offered by the NAAE on our website.  Many times, we don’t make an effort to get recognition for ourselves for what we have accomplished.  Many of you have great ideas or lesson which are awesome but never apply for the Ideas Unlimited award. Please take time and look at those awards on the website under “Member,” and while you are there look at what benefits you are getting for your membership such as Liability Insurance, Hotel Discounts, Discounted home/auto Insurance and more.  

Sometimes the Dragon wins, but he doesn’t have to if we take time for ourselves and look at the tools at our disposal.  Have a great Spring!!! 

Parker Bane

Happy New Year!

Posted by Parker Bane Jan 2, 2020

Welcome to a New Year!  I want to thank you for your continued engagement in NAAE and wish for many blessings to come your way personally and professionally.  


For those of you that I haven't been able to meet, yet, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.  I live in Towanda, Illinois with my wife, Angie (who is an amazing ag teacher) and our daughter, Ella.  We love spending time with our Golden Retriever, Luigi and our small, but growing herd of show cattle.  In fact, we are awaiting the birth of a calf as I write this message.  I am finishing 17 years of teaching at Pontiac Township High School.  


NAAE has been a significant blessing in my life, and I hope that you can say the same.  It is my goal that the association continues to provide and expand its high quality member services, professional development programs, and advocacy efforts.  We need your participation to make that happen!


Soon, we will be starting virtual committee meetings, which are a great place to be involved.  We will also be opening up our award applications and registration for professional development programs.  Especially on the award programs, be watching for your State's particular due dates. Many states request completed applications by March or early April.  CASE institute registrations have been open since December 1st!


We also have some exciting new plans for the new year.  Stay tuned!  


Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need help with anything!

Fellow NAAE members,

I have always found it interesting how unique but yet similar agriculture teachers are to one another in their daily educational endeavors. When I first began my career as an agriculture teacher I had farmed for several years before going to the classroom. Upon arriving in the classroom I was unsure of what to expect from a generation of students in a classroom with around 80% removed from the family farm.
I have always been one to find the need for relevance in everything we teach or engage in. So, my task for helping students find relevance in agriculture was the challenge and one that we all face even more so in today’s classrooms. I have found that if we as educators reveal the relevance of why we are teaching our daily classroom lesson, the better response we will receive from our students.
I have found in my travels during my time with NAAE that Ag teachers are very much the same way all across the United States and that is so unusual in any profession. I have found so many of the same similarities among individuals that have never met each other but their compassion for teaching students about agriculture is identical. Their respect for their fellow ag teachers are superior and their need to find relevance is engraved in their actions and mythology of teaching.
I want to take just a moment to thank you for your compassion for the agriculture classroom and your willingness to help students beyond the classroom to be the best they can possible be as citizens. You make a difference each and every day you enter your classroom and I hope you never lose the compassion for teaching, but pass it on to our next generation of teachers that will replace all of us one day. When you stop and think about it, we as ag teachers have the ability to train each other’s future replacement. So perhaps the common thread that I have found so unique and true across the United States in agriculture teachers are; we instill love, compassion, dedication, respect, and guidance to our students unlike any other teaching profession known.
NAAE members, thank you for always making me and my family feel as if we were part of yours as we traveled to your state to visit and thank you for trusting in me to help lead this great organization. It has truly been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve you as an NAAE officer for the past 6 years with the last year serving you as your president.
I would like to wish each of you a safe travels to Anaheim as we take this opportunity to recognize the great and outstanding work our fellow agriculture teachers do across the United States, engage in professional development and learn ways to make our daily walk of life in the classroom greater and more relevant than ever before.
May God bless you and your family.

See you in Anaheim!!!

The beginning of anyone's career can sometimes seem like a daunting and impossible to avoid venture. For budding agriculture teachers it is no different. For these beginning teachers in their second to fourth year of teaching, the NAAE offers a scholarship award to continue to provide support for these early career professionals. 


The agriculture teachers that are recipients of this award strive to attain the most educational classrooms for their students, the best resources for themselves and strong community ties. The promising career beginnings of these individuals show the great possibilities for their futures. Once again, congratulations to the 2018 Teachers Turn the Key scholarship winners! 


Want to know more about the 2018 Outstanding Cooperation award winners? Follow this link to check out their press releases from the 2018 NAAE Convention in San Antonio, Texas. 


Hello, NAAE!


I hope this message finds you well.  October brings about many things...changing colors, the harvest, Pumpkin Spice everything, and National FFA Convention.  National FFA Convention is always an exciting time.  We are fortunate to be close to Indianapolis.  We run a trip for students that want to attend the entire convention, and we also run a day trip for students that want to see it all, but can't go for the duration.  


Regardless of how long you can attend convention, stop by and visit the NAAE Booth in spot  number 615.  The Teach Ag Campaign can be found in booth 1471.  You'll be able to learn about NAAE programs and initiatives, ask membership questions, and receive cool NAAE swag.


How do you get the most our of your National FFA Convention experience?  I am thankful for all the opportunities provided to students.  First, have a plan for what you absolutely want to see and do.  Next, make sure you build in enough time to take care of yourself and your students.  Personally, I feel much better when I plan out meal stops, eat regularly, pack some snacks, and get plenty of sleep.  We all have different roles at convention.  Some of us are competing in multiple events.  Others of us will be taking in the leadership experiences.  This diversity makes the convention a uniquely engaging experience for each of our students.  


Finally, don't forget to lean on the experience of other teachers that are attending the convention.  Some of the coolest events and activities are found by word of mouth.  


See you at convention!

Jason Kemp

"A Time to Celebrate?

Posted by Jason Kemp Sep 16, 2019

Fellow NAAE Members,
I hope all is well with everyone and your first six weeks of the school year is off to a great start. I would like to take just a moment of your time and discuss with you the value of award-winning recognition through NAAE for your programs. It seems that today we live in a high pace social media world where everyone has something to share or discuss related to accomplishments. I know that not everyone gets the chance to be recognized nor wishes to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to their programs. There is also another side to that coin that we need to try and look at, and that is, our students’ success and recognition. Our students work extremely hard in our programs trying to master the skills their agriculture teachers present before them. I want to encourage you to share those accomplishments about your programs at the local, state and national levels. If we do not spread the word of our students and program accomplishments, then who will share their success stories our students’ achievements on a daily basis?
There is great value in being recognized as the recipient of an NAAE award. Recognition on a national level is very hard to achieve and one that should not be taken lightly. By allowing your program to receive recognition for their accomplishments will also help open doors for support for your program by individuals or organizations that would have maybe otherwise never knew your program existed. I look forward to spending time and getting to know the award winners for this year in Anaheim as they receive their national recognition for a job well done. Again, congratulations to all the NAAE award winners and thank you for your dedication to the profession.
I am proud to report to you that all staff position vacancies have been filled and everyone is hard at work trying to get things ready for the NAAE Convention in Anaheim, California as well as the NAAE booth at National FFA Convention next month in Indy. I want to encourage you to come by the NAAE both this year where we are combining NAAE, Teach Ag, CASE and MLC are all in one large booth. With one booth, it should make it easier for everyone to visit and have any questions answered you might have about your organization.
I want to remind everyone that September 19th is National Teach Ag Day and I would like to encourage you to use the lesson plans we have on the Teach Ag tab found on the NAAE page. The lessons we provide on the Teach Ag website will work for either a 45-minute and/or 90-minute class period.
Please tune in to the Teach Ag live celebration from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT!!! Go to the NAAE website and you will find the information needed to follow the Teach Ag Celebration.
See you at National FFA Convention!!!

Parker Bane

Much to celebrate!

Posted by Parker Bane Aug 29, 2019

I hope that this message finds you doing well.  Most of us are back in the swing of a new school year, and if that weren't enough cause for celebration, our members have a lot of good news!  First, make sure you check out the list of NAAE Award Winners!  It is humbling to see our colleagues recognized for the great work that they are doing.  This group of winners is truly outstanding, and I'm glad that they will get their time in the spotlight in Anaheim.  


We all know that teaching can be an emotionally challenging profession, but creating a culture of celebration can shift our mindset to the positive.  I love the opportunity to recognize students for outstanding achievements, and they appreciate being recognized, too.  Just yesterday, I had the chance to see a student turn out a great project in the mechanics lab.  I made sure to point it out.  


We need to point out what our colleagues are doing well, too!  Of course, we have the NAAE Awards program, but we also have great cohorts of professional development and coming up soon, the National Teach Ag Day Celebration.  Thursday, September 19th is a great day to celebrate the profession.  Personally, I love to learn, and I like to take a little time to share my passion for learning with my students on Teach Ag Day.  Tune in to the live celebration from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT!


We would like to welcome Sabrina Shaver and Olivia Thomas to the staff as Communications and Marketing Specialists.  Ashley Hood will also be returning to us on September 3rd as the Membership Coordinator.  Our staff has been busy training and preparing for many events this fall, including the NAAE Conference in Anaheim.  


Best wishes as you start the school year!  Take some time to celebrate!

Each year, the NAAE has the opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations who have made an impact on agricultural education across the country. These people go above and beyond standard support as they donate time, money and experiences to the agriculture students in their communities.


For many communities and classrooms, agricultural resources and experiences are not always plentiful, but through the dedication seen by these award winners, agricultural education has a bright future both in and out of the classroom. From the organization of events to highlight future agriculture teachers, to participating in research for the good of agriculture education and improving the connection with school administrators, the 2018 Outstanding Cooperation Award Winners certainly embody the premier leadership and career success that is taught to agriculture students across the country. 


Without the support and cooperation of individuals and organizations like them, agricultural education would not be where it is today. Once again, congratulations to the 2018 Outstanding Cooperation award winners. 


Want to know more about the 2018 Outstanding Cooperation award winners? Follow this link to check out their press releases from the 2018 NAAE Convention in San Antonia, Texas. Forrest T. Jones and Company is a sponsor of the Outstanding Cooperation award. 

A message from our partners, as part of News & Views:


Hello fellow NAAE members, 

I trust your summer has went well thus far and that you are enjoying the much needed time with family and friends. I know for many, you are knee deep in showing livestock at this point in the year and are planning your schedules around your summer CTE training. Please remember to balance and pace yourself for the long haul in this career.
The question that gets asked to me all the time is, “Why do we need more Ag teachers”? The answer is really simple when you stop and think about it. The first thought that we as agriculture teachers fire back at them is that we will never escape agriculture and that is the most accurate statement ever stated by any Ag teacher. With this question in mind we need to go a little deeper into the subject and think about the vast amount of jobs that stem from agriculture and the many different sectors that people normally do not think fall within the agriculture realm.
While it is true that less than 2 percent of Americans are directly employed by the agricultural industry, many more work for a business that is adjacent to it or otherwise dependent upon it. Agriculture is more than sows, cows and plows which is known as production agriculture. More than 22 million people are employed in agriculture related field. That’s one in 12 American jobs. These are jobs in fields such as; food science and food inspection, packaging, conservation or agricultural engineering. The basics for every one of these jobs are related back to agriculture teachers. In order to keep up with the ever changing field of agriculture, we need to be turning out more agriculture teachers for retiree replacements, etc.
Next I would like to encourage the teachers that will be serving as cooperating teachers this fall or next spring for universities to place student teachers along with student observers. We as Ag teachers and NAAE members need to encourage our student teachers and student observers to become student members. I have spoken to agriculture student members at their club meetings on this subject. Stop for a minute and look at the membership cost verses the benefits for student members.
Student members get the same professional coverage that we do as a student member and that to me is so important for the student members. Take a moment and share with your student teachers and observers the benefits of NAAE’s Student membership.
Student members enjoy all of the same benefits as active individual members, including the same level of liability coverage (see above), but NAAE also has programs and initiatives targeted specifically for those who are preparing to become agricultural educators. Please share with them what they get for $10.00 found below.
1. Upper Division Scholarship: Student members can apply for scholarships awarded during their student teaching semester. Applications are due in May for the upcoming year, so double-check to make sure you apply at the right time.
2. Pre-Service Professional Development: Student members are invited to participate in all NAAE professional development, including workshops, online professional development opportunities and Communities of Practice.
3. National Agriscience Preservice Teacher Program: This program allows specially selected agricultural education majors to spend a day during National FFA Convention immersed in inquiry-based teaching methods and agriscience. Learn more.
4. Teach Ag Ambassador Program: Each year the National Teach Ag Campaign selects an elite group of agricultural education majors to represent the profession and encourage others to teach agriculture. This program is only open to current NAAE student members. Learn more.
5. Teach Ag Collegiate Contest: Each year the National Teach Ag campaign holds a contest for collegiate agricultural education student organizations to show their Teach Ag pride! The contest changes each
Staff Updates:
We have successfully completed 5 out of the 6 NAAE Regional Conferences thus far. The last NAAE Regional Conference for this summer will be Region 6th held in Roanoke, Virginia dates are July 21st – 25th 2019. The NAAE office staff have been very busy with summer intern training, office staff interviews, NAAE regional conference preparation, etc. We certainly miss Ashley Hood in our office staff, and we wish her well with her endeavors. We have 5 summer interns that are working out nicely and our new two staff members Sarah Warren and Sabrina Shaver are transitioning well. Our NAAE office has been interviewing for our staff member openings and we hope that we will soon have the two open positions filled.
Our NAAE board are working on judging scholarship award applications and following up on our regional summer conference work. Our next board meeting will be September 6th, 7th and 8th in Lexington, KY.
I hope that everyone will be able to enjoy the rest or their summer and be ready to resume back in our classrooms within the next month or so ready to help mold the minds of our future and share the importance of agriculture to the world.

Hello, colleagues!  I hope that this message finds you winding down the year and preparing to recharge for a bit this summer. 

Personally, I have a lot of recharging to do. I don’t know about you, but I had some crazy happenings this past school year. Among the craziest was a situation where a young man in one of my classes became very angry with his project and threw a hammer across the lab. 

Fortunately, no other student was struck and injured. However, it is obvious that the young man is dealing with more than enough hurt of his own. You see, this wasn’t his first outburst. Over the course of his high school career, this young man had several emotional situations.

While this particular student showed his pain during highly visible displays, many others suffer in silence. Accordingly, as educators we have a responsibility to be beacons of kindness and stability for our students. We don’t know all the battles that our students are fighting. 

Some struggle with hunger. Others are fighting to fit in because they feel different from the other students. Still more go home to struggling family situations. 

As Ag educators, we don’t have the luxury of a handy reference manual for how to deal with every possible situation we may encounter with our students. Furthermore, we are likely not all equipped to be therapists and counselors. What we do have, though is an amazing 3 circle model to engage students and improve their lives. 

Just this week at the Region II Conference, I got to see first hand the impact of animal science education on criminal offenders at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Offenders volunteer their time for the PAWS program by training service dogs for veterans in need. The veterans benefit by receiving well-trained dogs. The offenders benefit from the interaction with the dogs and the rigorous training process. 

Clearly, our students (hopefully) aren’t criminal offenders. However, the lessons we can learn from the PAWS program are applicable to all of our students.  

Have you ever taken students off site to work with animals?  What unfolds is amazing. Shy students begin to smile and come out of their shells as lambs approach the fence where they stand. Boisterous students are humbled by the gentle interaction with a well behaved puppy that wants to play. A grumpy teacher can’t help but soften up a bit when a dairy cow comes over and gives him cow kisses. 

These are regular occurrences in many of our programs. Whether we teach animal science, horticulture, natural resources, or business, we all have unique opportunities to engage students in meaningful experiences. 

By providing meaning to our students, we are giving them a precious gift. However, we have a responsibility to make sure that all students feel like they are in an environment in which they can learn. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a perfect example of this. Sometimes I’m grumpy. Sometimes I don’t choose my words carefully enough. I’m human. However, I really do want my program to be a place where students feel free to be themselves...a place where they can express and challenge ideas. 

That’s where it starts. I look forward to what we continue to do as a profession to make every student feel welcome in every classroom, every day. 

This is a feature from the June 2019 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Each year, NAAE recognizes six outstanding agriculture teachers for their innovative classroom ideas with the Ideas Unlimited award. These teachers take learning to the next level by providing opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving through new instructional methods and ideas. The award winners for this category are selected by their fellow ag teachers.


This year’s award winners had a host of new and creative ideas to share with their peers. From interest approaches that involve “sewer lice,” to hands-on animal models used for artificial insemination demonstrations and practice, these teachers have provided their students with new ways to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.


One teacher in this award category developed a “breakout game” to celebrate National Teach Ag Day, while another created an activity for his students to discover a soil’s water-holding capacity. Students have also had the opportunity to participate in real-life debates about agricultural topics, as well as compete in a farmers market challenge.


Each of these teachers have developed their curriculum to meet the needs of each of their students’ learning styles and abilities – helping to show their schools and communities, along with the profession, that agricultural education is a safe place for all students.


Want to know more about the 2018 Ideas Unlimited award winners? Follow this link to check out their press releases and click here for photos from the 2018 NAAE Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The Ideas Unlimited award is sponsored by National Geographic Learning | Cengage Learning.



A message from our partners, as part of News & Views: 


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