Greene County News Report
WILMINGTON, Del., — Katrina Swinehart, an agriscience teacher at the Greene County Career Center, recently became an “Ag Ambassador.”
Swinehart earned the designation after completing the 13th annual DuPont National AgriScience Teachers Ambassador Academy (NATAA) at the company’s Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, Md. She joined 322 other teachers from across the country who attended NATAA and earned that designation.
The NATAA “Ag Academy” is a professional development institute sponsored by DuPont and a special project of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). This year, Swinehart joined other top-ranked agriscience teachers selected to engage in inquiry-based activities and explore state-of-the-art teaching concepts, with a majority of their training time in hands-on activities on DuPont’s 3,300-acre working farm. The dual farm and classroom approach is designed to energize teachers and to infuse that learning experience in the classroom with their students. Teachers also visited labs and engaged with scientists and engineers to learn about global food security, food safety, global water issues, and solar energy solutions.
“The Ag Academy has been an eye-opening experience,” Swinehart said. “With a wealth of new knowledge, materials and resources, I’m eager to start preparing my classroom curriculum and share what I’ve learned with my students and other teachers.”
With the Ag Academy training, teachers are able to bring a better comprehension of scientific concepts and open the door for students to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Each class of Ag Ambassadors impacts more than 10,000 students. Combined with multiple workshop presentations to their peers, more than 12,000 teachers across the U.S. including Puerto Rico and Alaska have participated, having a direct impact on over a million students during the life of the program.
“We recognize the impact great teachers make,” said Rik Miller, president of DuPont Crop Protection. “Agriscience teachers can create the inspiration and passion in students now that will inspire them to make the game-changing breakthroughs in agriculture and nutrition needed to feed the world in the next 30 years. The Ag Academy is an important professional development experience that gives teachers the tools they need today to help students become agriscience innovators tomorrow.”
The NAAE is a federation of state agricultural educators associations with more than 8,000 members. Currently NAAE is focusing on advocacy for agricultural education as well as professional development for and recruitment and retention of agricultural educators. NAAE offers a variety of programs and services to support this mission.