The ADEPT 2 Project has undertaken three major education and outreach efforts during the first three years of the project:
Activity: Creation of a forestry career and resource website to encourage rising college students to consider careers and fields of study in forestry and natural resources.
Result: The website has been live since March, 2008 and has undergone continuous updating and improvement, incorporating a search engine for the education page, a site statistics page, and self-submitting biographical page. Marketing of the site through the NAUFRP membership (the organization representing all educational institutions in the US with forestry and natural resource programs) has led to a rapid rise in viewer ship. We have received many accolades from member institutions.
Activity: Development of a genomics workshop designed to deliver background and lesson plans on genomic tools and their application for agronomic, horticultural and forestry crops and targeting middle / high school teachers representing districts with under-represented student bodies.
Results: The workshop was created and run through the South Carolina DNA Learning Center at Clemson in June, 2008. The event was attended by 17 middle and high school teachers who received graduate credit for the weeklong event that included classroom wetlab, computer lab and field components and delivered a number of pre-packaged lesson plans for teachers to take home. Teacher response was overwhelmingly positive.
Activity: Support of a Kenan Fellow to create lesson plans on tree genetic improvement and application of genomic tools in agriculture.
Results: Harold Mackin, a candidate from Washington State, was selected to receive a Kenan Fellowship sponsored by the ADEPT2 project. Harold participated in two weeks of Kenan Institute workshops and four weeks of direct mentoring from project scientist this summer. He is currently building curricula that will describe the tree improvement process and how genomic tools are being used in genetic improvement programs today.
Genomics Workshop: Genomic Tools and their Applications[Sponsored collaboratively by ADEPT and Fagaceae Genomic Tool Development projects.
ADEPT 2 committed to the delivery of a continuing education / outreach effort to inform upper level K-12 teachers on current developments in genomic sciences and application of genomic tools in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. In June, 2008, we presented a 5-day workshop at the South Carolina DNA Learning Center located at Clemson University. The workshop, attended by 17 teachers from Florida (10), Texas (6) and Washington (1) states, was offered as a three-credit class (Genetics 730): most participants took advantage of the credit. Teachers represented districts with significant enrollment of under-represented groups including African-American, Hispanic and American Indian populations.
The workshop was designed to provide classroom, wet-lab, and computer instruction modules. In addition, we spent a half-day in the field studying peach breeding and how genomic tools are used in horticultural practices. Of course, we ate peaches as well, which seemed to reinforce much of the science message being presented. We intentionally attempted to provide teachers with several lesson plans or experimental plans for in-class use, including provision of a kit for bacterial transformation to be used in their own classes. All teachers were required to create a poster illustrating lessons they learned at the course, and which would be of utility in their classroom.
- Christina Cambronero (Haines City High School) Haines City, FL
- Carolyn McAlear (Palmetto Ridge High School) Naples, FL
- Crystal Adams (Madisonville High School) Madisonville, TX
- Diana Latta (Palatka High School) Palatka, FL
- Donna Poniatowski (Seminole County PS) Sanford, FL
- Harold Mackin
- Jennier Luc (Spring High School) Spring, TX
- Kim Blain (Wells Middle School) Houston, TX
- Michelle Altimore (Lake Highlands High School) Richardson, TX
- Nancy Bridge (Olympia High School) Orlando, FL
- Shanna Staley (Madisonville High School) Madisonville, TX
- Shiela Reynolds (Coral Springs High School)
- Susan Carpenter
Instruction was provided by ADEPT team members Gary Peter and Nicholas Wheeler, the Learning Center’s primary instructor, Renea Hartwick, and another NSF recipient, Albert Abbott. Funding for the workshop was provided by ADEPT and yet another NSF sponsored project, Genomic Tool Development for the Fagaceae. The latter project is managed by Wheeler (PI Dr. Ron Sederoff, NCSU), and has a significant science and outreach effort at Clemson (Dr. Jeff Tomkins).
The Learning Center provided two forms of evaluation for the course: one was pre- and post-workshop knowledge assessment of what teachers knew about genomics/genetics disciplines. The other was simply a course evaluation completed at the end of the course. Overall, teacher evaluations were very encouraging and strongly supportive for virtually all aspects of the workshop, from choice and delivery of science topics to individual instructors. Many useful comments were submitted. It is clear that many of our teachers were stretched by the information presented, but seemed to pick up steam as we moved along. We learned that still more lab exposure is desired, and that there is a great need for this type of material. The results from the pre- and post- knowledge assessment also reflect that the teachers felt they learned a great deal in this workshop. The DNA Learning Center is particularly well suited to delivering this material and we support their continued efforts in this area. This represented the first time the Learning Center has catered to an out-of-state audience.
In short, the workshop was a considerable success in our view.
The Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development is a competitive two-year fellowship offered to K-12 public school teachers. The mission of the Kenan Fellows Program is to enhance curriculum relevance for the benefit of all students; engage teachers, business, and universities through unique professional collaboration; and promote growth opportunities for teachers and the teaching profession.
The ADEPT2 program is sponsoring a Kenan Fellow for the two-year program that commenced in April of 2008. The Fellow chosen for the program was Harold Mackin from Rochester High School in Washington State. Harold was chosen the National Agri-Science Teacher of the Year for 2006, maintains a highly respected FFA and Agriscience program in his district and routinely takes students to national and international Agriscience fairs and tours. His mission is to create course curricula that can be used in classroom and FFA settings that describe crop improvement concepts and the application of genomic tools in plant and animal breeding programs. Project results will ultimately be posted on special websites created by the Fellow in conjunction with the Kenan program.
Harold attended the Clemson Genomics workshop (noted previously in this report) and a two-week series of workshops in Raleigh, NC, provided by the Kenan Institute. He will attend another two weeks of Raleigh workshops in 2009. Each year he also receives 4 weeks of direct mentoring from our project scientists.
We are highly impressed with the quality and professionalism of the Kenan Program and results obtained from their Fellows.
Workshop: During the summer of 2006 we hosted a small workshop for three middle and high school teachers at North Carolina State University. The purpose of the workshop was to determine how best to reach out to students about to enter college and promote college degree programs, and ultimately careers, in forestry and natural resources. Workshop attendees and project cooperators Barry Goldfarb and Nicholas Wheeler concluded that a website best met our needs. The outline for the site was developed and a series of interviews were conducted to form the basis of our �biography?component of the website. We attempted to create a site that was inviting to under-represented groups by including a diversity page and seeking biographies from representative groups.
Site Construction: Over the ensuing 6-12 months materials were collected to fill out databases to be used in the site. We focused our efforts on
- Defining career opportunities
- Providing extensive information on schools and programs offering courses of study
- Diversity in these professions
- Biographical sketches of individuals that have gone through programs of study and are working in the fields.
The web design firm Toolhouse provided discounted services to develop the site. Subsequent development, revisions and maintenance have been performed by ADEPT / Dendrome personnel at UC Davis where the site is hosted.
Marketing and Revisions: Our primary marketing efforts for the site have been through the membership of NAUFRP, the National Association of Universities with Forestry and Natural Resource Programs. In August, 2008, we provided a poster which provided information on the website. They were asked to forward the poster to all of their member institutions, who in turn may use the poster in their own recruitment mailings. This approach has the potential to market the site to virtually every high school in the 50 states! As these recruiting efforts take place we anticipate a growing audience. Our viewership has indeed picked up since the mailing. The page has also been sent to all FFA organizations in the US as well as the listserv for the national science teachers? organization. The site has been picked up by many institutions such as the Dept. of Natural Resources in Indiana , the Dept. of Forestry in Virginia, and SAF, that link their careers page directly to ours.
NAUFRP members have made literally dozens of requests for revisions and these have been handled at UC Davis within days, often within hours of the requests. Since the site went live, there have been a number of significant and major improvements. These include:
- The addition of an About Us page that makes requests for changes easier
- A new format for the education page which includes a search feature
- A statistics page which provides valuable information on site visits
- A self styled biography submission page for new additions to site
Statistics: A site statistics page has been created which provides a virtually up to the minute census of hits and background information that is very useful to us. The following two tables, for instance, summarize site usage in September (up to the 23rd) and previous months.
* Not viewed traffic includes traffic generated by robots, worms, or replies with special HTTP status codes.
How is this information to be interpreted? The data for August suggests that there were 1042 unique visitors to the site, and some of them visited more than once (Total number of visits = 1,543). The average visitor viewed a little over 4 pages and poked around a great deal (informed by the number of hits). Hits reflect that visitors may have gone to several of the bio sketches or college websites listed in the site. We are encouraged to see the number of visitors climb as the new school year begins and our marketing efforts are beginning to take effect.
A visit to the stats page will show the wide range of other information available including number of visits by day, by hour, by day of the week, from robots and spiders, from top host sites etc. The duration of visits is recorded, as are the favorite pages at the site. The careers and education pages are clearly the targeted favorites with emphasis on Fish/Wildlife and Parks/Recreation sub-disciplines.