The trend in the willows.

Finding ways to use renewable resources is the name of the game these days. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill FFA in Verona, N.Y., became part of this movement with their Willow Biomass Project.

The chapter’s environmental resources committee contacted Larry Smart of Cornell University to ask for his advice about a test plot for the project. FFA members then got to work under the tutelage of both Cornell University and the Syracuse University School of Environmental Science and Forestry.

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Changing Conversations

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By Kelsey Kennedy

Thursday morning, a meeting room at the Indiana Convention Center was full of FFA members, staff and members of Connecting cultures in FFA the Native American community. They had traveled from all over the country to discuss the future of Native American students in FFA and how to help other FFA members learn more about their culture. While Flores and Moore expected around 30 people to come, more than 100 people made their way to the round table over the course of the morning.

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Celebrating Cultures

By Kelsey Kennedy

Dazzling colors, swirling flutes and Native American dance took over the national convention stage after the last opening session on Wednesday night. The award-winning Native American musical group Brulé performed while dressed in traditional regalia. For Paul LaRouche, a member of the Lower Brule Sioux tribe and the founder of Brulé, their performance at national convention was “combination outreach, combination education and part rock concert.”

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Connecting Cultures in FFA

Brule performance, 2011 National FFA Convention

By Kelsey Kennedy

For Josh Moore, it all started his senior year of high school with an essay contest sponsored by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, an organization that promotes the conservation, development and use of agricultural resources for Native Americans. Soon, Moore was elected state vice president of the Arizona FFA association and was traveling all over the country to spread his message: Native Americans and their contributions to agriculture are important and these students need something like FFA in their lives.

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Gone fishin’.

Have you ever wondered how a fish hatchery works? Mount Baker FFA in Deming, Wash., is well versed in the subject after raising steelhead trout in a hatchery and then releasing them.

The steelhead trout is similar to a salmon in that it migrates to sea as a juvenile and returns to fresh water as an adult to spawn. Pacific salmon die following spawning, but the steelhead trout may spawn more than once and return to the water source after each spawning.

Twenty-two FFA members helped manage the McKinnon Hatchery for six months, feeding the fish, calculating water flow to the hatchery, recording density ratios and water quality, and weighing the fish to calculate their food-to-weight ratio.

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