It has been an exciting winter and spring for the NAAE staff. We have welcomed two new baby boys into our staff family and another new child is expected shortly! Andrea and Jeff Fristoe are the proud new parents of J.W. Fristoe and Katie and Neil Wood are the proud new parents of Heid Wood. Miranda, Ryan, and Beau Chaplin will soon have a new family member. We wish all of these NAAE staff families many blessings!
Professional development planning for 2016 is well underway with exciting plans for the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy, the NAAE Agriscience Inquiry Institutes, the Future Agriscience Teacher Symposium, and the NAAE Virtual Book Club. Our agriscience workshops at the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association in Nashville were a big success.
We are now receiving many applications for the 2016 NAAE awards programs and the process for evaluating the awards applications is underway.
In the past several weeks, we have signed contracts for upcoming NAAE convention locations. We are now booked through 2021, as follows: 2016 - Las Vegas; 2017 - Nashville; 2018 - San Antonio; 2019 - Las Vegas (pending); 2020 - Nashville; and 2021 - New Orleans. Staff are busy now preparing for the 2016 NAAE regional meetings and providing resources for the state agricultural education association conferences.
The National Teach Ag Campaign staff are busy planning for National Teach Ag Day, September 22, 2016. The location, satellite sites, and program are going to be exciting and uplifting for our profession. Soon we will be announcing the 2016 group of National Teach Ag Ambassadors, university students who will help promote the agricultural education profession to prospective teachers. Teach Ag Campaign staff are also coordinating the State Teach Ag Results (STAR) Program cohort state planning, on site meetings and follow up meetings.
Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) staff are ready to deliver the CASE Lead Teacher Orientation meeting in Minneapolis, April 21-23. 2016 CASE Institute preparations are going very well and we are excited to be offering the Environmental Science Issues (ESI) field test this summer. We are most pleased with the steady growth and expansion of the CASE initiative.
Membership staff are keeping current with processing membership rosters and dues payments. A major push is on now to get states to update their lists of NAAE life members. We have recently made a number of improvements to the NAAE database to increase the efficiency of our staff in generating needed reports. Other routine office activities continue as normal including our back-office accounting processes, business management for The Agricultural Education Magazine, and federal lobbying disclosures.
We continue to improve our NAAE committee process. A new committee member application process will be introduced to our members soon in an effort increase the efficiency of our committee member application process.
Staff have represented NAAE at numerous national meetings recently including the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees Meeting, the National Agricultural Education Summit, the National Council for Agricultural Education board of directors meeting, and the National Postsecondary Agriculture Student Organization annual conference. We continue to communicate with the National FFA Foundation staff to ensure the continuous sponsorship support for NAAE initiatives and we are most grateful for their commitment to agricultural education and NAAE.
We were quite pleased with the participation from agricultural educators at the agricultural education stand of the ACTE National Policy Seminar in March 2016. About 50 agricultural educators participated in the agricultural education strand activities. The agricultural education stand activities were co-sponsored this year by the National FFA Foundation and NAAE.
We are pleased to have been invited to be a keynote presenter at the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) annual conference. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to present our nation's agricultural education model to our international partners.