May 16, 2022 at 7:28 p.m.

Making connections to share the story

Lewandowski pens children’s ag book
Mary Lewandowski is the author of a children’s book about her experiences growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm as part of her FFA supervised agriculture experience. Lewandowski and her family dairy farm near Bevent, Wisconsin.  PHOTO BY DANIELLE NAUMAN
Mary Lewandowski is the author of a children’s book about her experiences growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm as part of her FFA supervised agriculture experience. Lewandowski and her family dairy farm near Bevent, Wisconsin. PHOTO BY DANIELLE NAUMAN

By Danielle Nauman- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

    BEVENT, Wis. – A local high school student has written a book about life on her family’s dairy farm, and she is sharing the book in area schools.
    Not only is Mary Lewandowski the author of “The Life of a Wisconsin Dairy Farm Girl,” when she shares the book with kids, she works to bring the farm experience to life.
    “I wanted to do something that would allow me to educate elementary school children about agriculture,” Lewandowski said. “I wanted to share my own story of growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm in a way they could relate.”
    The book is geared toward elementary school students from kindergarten through fourth grade. Lewandowski has partnered with elementary schools in her area to visit classrooms to share her book and teach students about how their food is produced.
    To date, Lewandowski has shared her story with more than 500 students in seven area elementary schools and has plans to visit more classrooms throughout the remainder of the school year.
    When Lewandowski visits a classroom, she engages the students for a 30-minute presentation. She shares her book and leads the students in some sort of age-appropriate activity. She brings in samples of feed to share with the students and ends her presentations giving each student a bag of donated agriculture-related items.
    “I start out asking the students questions to find out what they know,” Lewandowski said. “I ask if any live on farms or have family members that might farm. I’ve found out that about 17% of the students live on farms themselves and about 48% have experienced a relative’s farm.”
    When sharing about her experience growing up on her family’s 50-cow dairy, Lewandowski chronicles the life of a cow and shares how she works with her parents to care for their herd. For several years, Lewandowski has also managed a 40-bird flock of chickens, marketing eggs in her community.
     Lewandowski, the daughter of Bill and Sandy Lewandowski of Bevent, is a senior at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School. Throughout her high school career, Lewandowski has been an active member of the school’s FFA chapter, honing her skills as a leader and developing a voice to educate the public of the story of how America’s farmers feed the world.
    For her FFA supervised agricultural experience, Lewandowski decided to branch out for her senior year, moving beyond the dairy and poultry SAEs she has participated in previously. The book served as her SAE project, and she worked with the guidance of FFA advisor Matt Christian.
    After reaching out to area schools and community members, Lewandowski said she learned that there was a need to promote Wisconsin agriculture, particularly at the youngest levels.     
    Lewandowski credits her involvement in FFA for helping her develop the leadership skills and confidence to share her personal story about agriculture. In FFA, she has held the offices of sentinel as a sophomore and has served as vice president of public relations throughout both her junior and senior years; she also serves as the liaison between the chapter and its alumni association. She has been a member of both the state and national FFA bands as a trumpet player and will receive her State FFA Degree at the organization’s upcoming convention in June.
    Not only has Lewandowski grown through her presentations, she said the entire process of planning, writing and publishing the book has been a valuable learning experience from day one.
    “My communication skills have really developed throughout this project,” Lewandowski said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but I have had to do a lot of cold calling, working to procure sponsorships and donations to help fund the process. I have become a better business communicator throughout this project.”
    Lewandowski expressed her gratitude to both the Wittenberg-Birnamwood FFA Alumni and the Shawano County Farm Bureau for both their financial assistance to the project as well as the valuable mentorship and support resources each provided throughout the process.
    Lewandowski said the first printing of the book included 200 copies and 50 more copies were printed. Lewandowski worked with the copy departments at the local Staples and Office Max stores.
    For her efforts in her SAE project, Lewandowski received a silver award from her proficiency application.
    Working with youth to raise awareness of the importance of agriculture has cemented Lewandowski’s plans for the future, which include working as a dairy advocate and program manager for a dairy organization. She plans to continue her education, first studying agri-business and dairy science at North Central Wisconsin Technical College before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to finish a degree in organizational leadership. Lewandowski said that within the next 10 years, she would like to be able to take over the operation of her family’s dairy farm.
    “The feedback I have received from the students has been so wonderful,” Lewandowski said. “I have been able to make a difference to the students I have connected with. We all need to try and make those connections and share the stories of our farms with the consumers.”


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



24 25 26 27 28 29 30
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.