How and when did you first learn of Ag in the Classroom?
After moving to San Diego from Connecticut, I continued to develop hands-on science activities to share with teachers and students. The opportunity to attend the 1997 California AITC Conference and participate in workshops impressed me and "hooked" my awareness to the potential for multidisciplinary activities (science, math, social studies, environment, and technology).
How long have you been teaching students and why did you choose to become an educator?
Teaching, sharing ideas, and developing new activities continue to be enjoyable challenges for me. I have not thought about how long—it's enjoyable. However, to answer the question, I have been teaching for more than 50 years. I continue to attend and interact at conferences looking for new ideas to share with student and teachers.
What is your favorite AITC program/resource/event and why?
My favorites include "Food Safety: From Farm to Fork," an AITC activity I helped develop. The sharing of AITC resources and making my science workshop participants aware of the availability of these free resources is most rewarding.
What is the most profound impact that agriculture education/awareness has on you?
Agriculture education offers a variety of hands-on practical activities. The concepts learned and applied affect our lives in the short and long term. As a science teacher, I am able to influence future generations of students and teachers in this area.
Tell us about one person who has most influenced your own education and educational career.
My father lacked a formal education but had an agricultural background. His wealth of common sense, appreciation of nature, and respect for his fellow man impressed on me that education is a lifelong process. He was my best teacher.
Describe any agriculture-based project you have been involved with lately.
I am involved in promoting food safety awareness. My workshop includes the culturing of environmental microbes using Petrifilm, a dehydrated instant petri dish, and mimicking their presence and transmission by using Glo-Germ, a nontoxic powder that fluoresces with use of UV light.
Do you have any advice for other teachers on implementing agriculture into the classroom?
It would be beneficial for a teacher to develop and be comfortable with a special area, to accumulate a collection of agricultural resources to share with students, and to get students actively involved. A sense of humor and patience, along with a willingness to learn, should add to the enjoyment of teaching.
Why do you believe it is important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society?
Agriculturally literate students are capable of making responsible decisions for maintaining stewardship of our land. They understand interactions within ecosystems and the impact that man has on them. They have a knowledgeable awareness of our present and future food supply. They know that policies affecting agriculture impact our diet, health, and economics.