Jesse Bennick, a teacher at Sagebrush Elementary School, has been named to receive Rooted in Wyoming’s second annual Teacher of the Year award.
According to information from Rooted in Wyoming, Bennick has led gardening activities at Sagebrush in the past year for her science/STEM classes and after-school programs for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Last spring she led the “Sagebrush Student Seed Starters” in which students explored processes and methods necessary to grow their own food during the statewide school closures. Through use of virtual tools, Bennick taught her students seed germination, planting, transplanting and care of food crops.
In addition, according to Rooted in Wyoming, when students returned to Sagebrush this fall, they were greeted with an aquaponic Farm Wall in their front entrance.
The Farm Wall was one of five that were previously installed for the summer growing season at Smith Alley Brewing Company and were partially funded through a USDA Specialty Crop grant project through the Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. Bennick agreed to host one of the walls to enrich STEM learning at her school.
Lise Foy, Rooted in Wyoming executive director, said Bennick’s grant application for seeds and supplies to kickstart her Sagebrush Student Seed Starters project sparked a domino effect for Rooted in Wyoming’s programming and outreach in the spring.
Rooted in Wyoming created the annual Teacher of the Year award to recognize a teacher who demonstrates commitment, dedication and creative use of their school garden as a teaching tool.
The Teacher of the Year receives $150 to use toward purchase of an enhancement to his or her garden or classroom.