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Mercedes Unwin, AgScape's Senior Program & Resource Coordinator, and the Hon. Ernie Hardemen, Minister of Agriculture, present the Teacher Recognition Award at Canada's Outdoor Farm Show on September 11, 2018.
High school teacher Paul Dawson built an entire semester’s course around one central question: “Why should the average Canadian care about farming and agriculture?” An Agricultural Specialist High Skills Major & Senior Construction teacher at North Middlesex District High School, Dawson’s unique approach to teaching agriculture in the classroom was applauded yesterday at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show where he was honoured with the AgScape Teacher Recognition Award for 2018.
Dawson framed all eight units of his course on modern agriculture through a lens that had students explore the pros and cons of the impact on supplying food for Canadian consumers.
“Most of my students are involved in agriculture in some way, and intend to stay involved in this sector,” says Dawson. “I wanted to have them look at various parts of the industry in a new way and from the broader perspective of feeding an expanding population.”
Throughout the course, Dawson’s students visited the London Farm Show, participated in local community gardens that provided fresh produce to the local food bank, took part in AgScape’s genAg career competition and evaluated the impact of current events on the agricultural industry including trade talks with the United States.
“Paul took a very unique approach to help his students look at the wide range of issues and opportunities in the agri-food sector,” says AgScape Executive Director, Colleen Smith. “He has taught them so much more by encouraging critical thinking and investigative work, and those are invaluable skills. AgScape is proud to honour Paul’s achievement with our annual Teacher Recognition Award to acknowledge his outstanding work to bring ag literacy alive in the classroom,” says Smith.
2018 marks the 10th year that AgScape has partnered with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show to present the Teacher Recognition Award to an Ontario teacher for their efforts in teaching students the importance of agriculture.
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