2014 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Missy Locke
Missy Locke worked to establish an outdoor garden and classroom for the students at Richland Elementary which is located in a rural area of Tennessee serving students in grades PreK-4th grade. From the start of the school year, students are working in the garden and learning about types of leaves, plant adaptations, life cycles, photosynthesis, and the plant’s role in its environment. Students also attend Ag Day in early fall where they can learn about their county’s crop production, livestock, and watersheds. Mid-year, students study about erosion and climate and transfer this into lessons on how a farmer’s actions affect their environment and how a region’s climate determines when and what a farmer plants. By early spring students are ready to plant their “greens garden” and experiment with plant growth by varying water amounts, use of fertilizer, or planting methods. They are able to plant, tend to, harvest, and enjoy the fruits of their labors whether it be eating, donating, or selling the vegetables.