Robert Yates (above), agriscience teacher, and Jo Ann Pfeiffer, NATAA facilitator, demonstrate how solar energy can be used to pump water to irrigate crops in remote locations around the world.
WORDEN – Robert Yates, an agriscience teacher at Huntley Project High School, successfully completed the 13th annual DuPont National AgriScience Teachers Ambassador Academy (NATAA) at the company’s Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, Md. Upon receiving the certificate of completion, Yates became an “Ag Ambassador,” joining the other 322 outstanding teachers from across the country who have 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, Yates 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.
“We recognize the impact great teachers make. 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,” said Rik Miller, president, DuPont Crop Protection. “The Ag Academy is an important professional development experience that gives teachers the tools they need today to help students become agriscience innovators tomorrow.”
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, over 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.
“The Ag Academy has been an eye-opening experience,” said Yates. “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.”
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.