OPINION: Fostering innovation with biofuels

By Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy | January 08, 2020

Growing up in Minnesota and in my travels around the country with Growth Energy, I’ve seen first-hand the role biofuels play not only in our nation’s energy policy but also in supporting rural communities. While growing demand for its product, the biofuels industry has a wonderful history of putting equal weight behind lifting up farmers, supporting local businesses, and protecting jobs. At Growth Energy, we share that commitment to community and are excited to invest our philanthropic time and money into the next generation through biofuels education and advocacy training in the classroom.

Through our partnership with National FFA and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), Growth Energy developed and implemented a first-of-its-kind, free biofuels curriculum designed to introduce high school students to the world of biofuels – a critical and often overlooked step in fostering future innovators and leaders.

By leveraging NAAE and National FFA’s network of over 12,000 teachers and 700,000 students, we have made great progress in promoting the curriculum and ensuring that interested schools across the nation are aware of this new resource.

In November, Growth Energy staff attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, where we had the opportunity to visit with students and teachers about our program. In just three days, over 450 teachers downloaded the curriculum and the feedback has been encouraging. We were thrilled when Micah Humphreys, an agricultural teacher and FFA advisor at Riverton Parke High School in Montezuma, Indiana, told us that she had “just began using the curriculum last week, but it has been great so far!”

Since its introduction in April, more than 2,000 educators have downloaded the curriculum from coast-to-coast, including major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, but we’re not stopping there. We’ve connected with agricultural educators to learn how we best get this into the hands of teachers, and in 2020, we’re hitting the road and working with our partners to offer a workshop series for teachers across the nation to dive deeper into the program.

Helping to expand science, technology, engineering, and math programs in the classroom and spark an interest in advocacy is part of developing strong leaders for our communities. As this program expands its reach across the country and recruits future scientists and innovators, we’re proud to be part of building a clean, renewable future for the next generation.

If you know a teacher or are a teacher yourself, who may be interested in introducing biofuels in the classroom, you can download a free copy at growthenergy.org/curriculum.