Nav: Home

New effort to promote careers in agriculture, natural resources

December 19, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Careers in agriculture and natural resource management are booming, but today's urban and suburban kids are frequently unaware of the opportunities available to them in these fields because they lack awareness of the breadth of these studies. A new round of grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is designed to turn around this trend, and educators with the University of Tennessee Departments of Plant Sciences and Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications (ALEC) are among the grant recipients.

Natalie Bumgarner, an assistant professor and UT Extension specialist in Plant Sciences along with Jennifer Richards, Carrie Stephens and Daniel Sarver from UT, will lead a Tennessee-based project that will develop a curriculum and professional development products for educators that are designed to encourage students in grades 9 - 12 to pursue food, agriculture, natural resource and human science (FANH) careers through engaging and experiential instruction. Specifically, the UT Institute of Agriculture educators will model how teachers can use soilless vegetable growing systems constructed in controlled environments as a tool to enhance secondary education studies in chemistry, biology and agriculture science.

"Experimental and educational soilless production systems can be scaled to fit a range of locations depending on the educational needs, instructor and setting," said Bumgarner, who intends to use the grant to help equip high school teachers and 4-H agents by training them in using a curriculum that can address state teaching standards while engaging students.

Bumgarner intends for the growing systems to increase student knowledge of scientific inquiry, hypothesis development, and data collection linked with food crop production as well as provide hands-on learning activities regarding food production and real-world problem solving. Her colleague Daniel Sarver said, "This grant program fits nicely in with the goals of the 4-H STEM program in Tennessee, which is to stimulate youth interest in STEM and FANH careers." STEM programs work to enhance educational efforts in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"The critical long-range goal is to prepare students to select and succeed in FANH careers and contribute to future agricultural productivity and resiliency," Bumgarner states. "We hope to help grow the next generation of producers and scientists who are acutely aware of the challenges facing the world's food and agricultural systems. We need more young people to become skilled in the technologies and science that may result in solutions to the problems of sustainably producing food, fuel and fiber for increasing populations."

Bumgarner adds that the curriculum should also influence students who choose other career paths. "I hope every student will become an educated and thoughtful consumer who is aware of the roles that agriculture and natural resource management play in our economy and society," she said.
-end-
The two-year, $45,000 grant is being made through NIFA's Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program. All SPECA projects are designed to advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the FANH sciences.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Related Education Articles:

Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.
Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.
The new racial disparity in special education
Racial disparity in special education is growing, and it's more complex than previously thought.
Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US
A first-of-its-kind study estimate the economic value of education for better health and longevity.
How education may stave off cognitive decline
Prefrontal brain regions linked to higher educational attainment are characterized by increased expression of genes involved in neurotransmission and immunity, finds a study of healthy older adults published in JNeurosci.
Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.
Protestantism still matters when it comes to education, study shows
A new academic study, the first of its kind, reveals a significant and positive historical legacy of Protestant religion in education around the world.
Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.
How does limited education limit young people?
A recent nationally-representative US Department of Education study found that 28 percent of fall 2009 ninth-graders had not yet enrolled in a trade school or college by February 2016 -- roughly six-and-a-half years later.
'Depression education' effective for some teens
In an assessment of their 'depression literacy' program, which has already been taught to tens of thousands, Johns Hopkins researchers say the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) achieved its intended effect of encouraging many teenagers to speak up and seek adult help for themselves or a peer.
More Education News and Education Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Uncounted
First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.