In 1985 several committees were formed to foster support for agriculture and natural resource youth education. During a meeting on February 3, 1986, the motion was made to title the organization Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC). In 1988, Chairman Gene Pexton and Elaine Moore worked diligently to create the first Agriculture in the Classroom magazine. They mailed out 19,300 copies to 4th and 5th grade students. The magazine was titled ‘Country to Classroom’ and WAIC still continues the education efforts today.
In 2001, WAIC entered into an agreement with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to have a full time employee within the department and under the direction of WAIC. The Chairman at the time was Del Tinsley and Ron Micheli was the Director at the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. Both played a crucial role in securing funding for the employment position. The next Chairman of WAIC, Keith Geis continued to develop funding sources for the organization and was instrumental in WAIC’s continued growth.
In 2005, Encana presented an opportunity for WAIC by providing $750,000 for an endowment if WAIC could match the funds. Chairman Dennis Sun led the effort with the help of the WAIC Board of Directors and the endowment goal of $1.5 million was reached in 2008. WAIC is grateful for Encana’s gift and all the Wyoming support.
In 2011, WAIC took another step led by Chairman Mantha Phillips to become a self-sustaining non-profit organization with the hiring of a fulltime Executive Director. Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom no longer has an employee within the Wyoming Department of Agriculture but greatly values our current partnership.
The organization continues to grow foundational programs with a priority placed on development of the Wyoming Stewardship Project for classrooms across the state. WAIC’s success is Wyoming’s success and offers an opportunity to help grow Wyoming’s next generation.
Thank you to all our supporters; your generosity keeps us moving forward. We do not take the task of providing agriculture and natural resource education lightly and want our supporters to know our efforts are as diligent as ever.