Food, friends and fun were in abundance as over 300 people gathered at AITC's 13th Annual Fall Harvest Dinner & Auction Saturday, October 19. The event raised more than $44,000 to support AITC's mission of educating Oregon students in grades K-12 about agriculture, the environment and natural resources. For the past four years AITC has reached over 100,000 students. Last school year was AITC best, with the program reaching 120,000 Oregon students statewide.
This year's celebration was held at a new location, Oregon State University's Alumni Center in Corvallis. The evening's entertainment kicked off with a happy hour with local artisan cheeses, seafood and fresh produce, plus regional wines and craft beers. Guests enjoyed the locally grown fair as they perused the silent auction. This year the silent auction featured 124 items that included everything from fresh baked pies and home decor to golf outings and rodeo tickets – all were generously donated by local businesses and individuals.
Guests were then treated to a delicious meal that again highlighted Oregon grown foods. The dinner was followed by the AITC Teacher of the Year Award. This year's award was presented to Justin Brill, who teaches first and second grade at the Bethany Charter School in Stayton. Brill regularly uses AITC lessons, books and support materials in his classroom. He holds degrees in both education and agriculture from OSU.
A rousing live auction concluded the evening as supporters bid on plane trips, photography, vacation homes and much more. A high tea for six was auctioned off at a stunning $1,600! Guests also purchased 46 cases of the recently updated Get Oregonized textbook. AITC matches classroom's book purchases with these donated books to help schools establish full sets for their classrooms at lower costs. Get Oregonized is a social studies textbook written for third and fifth grade students. The book covers Oregon's history and its regions. Of the 4,000 newly printed books, 1,200 copies have already been sold and distributed. Rod Fielder, author of the first edition of the book in 1985, was on hand that evening to celebrate the program and the latest book update.
AITC extends its heartfelt gratitude to the dinner sponsors: The Capital Press, Lochmead Farms, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Oregon Wheat Growers League and Wilbur-Ellis Company. Special thanks are also given to everyone who volunteered their time and talents to making the evening a success, including the numerous businesses that made donations to the auctions.
Said Tami Kerr, AITC Executive Director, "Without all of these volunteers, businesses and organizations coming together to support our program, the event would simply not be possible and our program wouldn't be able to continue its important work across the state."