Florida Ag in the Classroom honors four volunteers

09/02/2008 02:00:00 AM

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc., Gainesville, has selected four agriculture industry volunteers as winners of its Outstanding Volunteer Program Award and Outstanding Volunteer Award for 2008.

Highlands County Ag-Venture and its organizers Danielle Daum and Darlene Phypers received the organization's Outstanding Volunteer Program of the Year, according to a news release.

Manatee County's Murray Martin and Miami-Dade County's Diane Massucci received the organization's Outstanding Volunteer of the Year awards.

"These individuals donate their time and energy to help educate students around Florida about the importance of agriculture. Without them, the agriculture education programs in which they're involved wouldn't be nearly as successful," says Cara Martin, Florida Ag in the Classroom chairman and assistant director of government and community affairs for Florida Farm Bureau, in the release.

The four volunteers were honored at Florida Ag in the Classroom's 2008 State Teacher and Volunteer Workshop earlier this summer.

Daum and Phypers helped start the Highlands County Ag-Venture program more than 10 years ago through the Highlands County Farm Bureau. The Ag-Venture program is now a non-profit association on its own and reaches 1,500 students annually with the leadership of Daum and Phypers.

Massucci is passionate about educating students, teachers and other volunteers about the importance of Florida agriculture, according to Florida Ag in the Classroom. She has served on the Miami-Dade Schools Agricultural Advisory Board for more than 15 years. She is a Dade County Farm Bureau board member.

Martin has volunteered his time for many years to Lincoln Memorial Middle School's agriculture program located in Palmetto in Manatee County. He has donated time, labor and supplies to several projects on campus that have enhanced the agriculture program. For example, he re-engineered the drainage system of the school's greenhouse so it wouldn't flood during stormy weather.

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