Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show and AgScape have a strong partnership that has celebrated educator’s contributions to agriculture in the classroom. This will be the 10th year that the two organizations have partnered to present the Teacher Recognition Award to an Ontario teacher for their efforts and achievements in teaching students the importance of agriculture.
This year’s AgScape Teacher Recognition Award is being presented to Paul Dawson. Paul teaches at North Middlesex District High School (NMDHS) in Parkhill and the 2018-19 school year will be his third year at the school. He is the Agricultural Specialist High Skills Major teacher as well as the Senior Construction teacher. Paul teaches the THA3M Green Industries: Agribusiness course to students at NMDHS. This course covers a wide variety of topics such as field crops, forestry, horticulture, landscaping, alternative farming, GMO’s, livestock operation, animal science, agribusiness, farm management and sustainable agriculture.
“This entire semester is built around the major overarching question ‘Why should the average Canadian care about farming/agriculture?’” says Dawson. Looking at all eight units through this lens gives the student a voice to speak to the pros and cons of supporting agriculture in its various forms, like industrial farming or small family farms and how this affects the supply of food to Canadian consumers. These discussions had students reading newspapers, trade publications and internet articles to support their arguments for and against the various subjects brought to them.”
The class took a field trip to the London Farm Show, participated in the genAg careers competition and learned hands-on skills. Students cared for a number of gardens and plots around the school, where they focused on growing tomatoes, white beans, alfalfa and sunflowers. “By using the student’s voices during this semester we as a class were much better prepared to see the value of agriculture to the average Canadian”, says Dawson, “In this way each student felt that they had fully answered the question asked of them and will be prepared to support, debate and fully involve themselves in the issues surrounding modern agriculture in Canada”.
Paul Dawson will be recognized for being an outstanding teacher ambassador at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show’s Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday, September 11th at 10:00 a.m. near the Ginty Jocius Memorial Waterfall beside the Ducks Unlimited Wetland Pond.