Seized Opportunities

Resilience! An Ailanthus tree emerges from a storm drain.

“I seen my opportunities and I took ’em”

George Washington Plunkitt

In more than 30 years with UMass Extension, I was fortunate to find many opportunities for good work, including projects in all Extension program areas, a variety of initiatives across the University, and partnerships with state and federal agencies and private foundations. Some highlights:

Curriculum Development and Teaching

  • High School Community Research – As part of my work for UMass Extension, I have been the Massachusetts Envirothon program’s Current Issue Station Leader since 1995, which involves annual development of resources for teams to explore a critical environmental issue as it occurs in their communities. This long-term involvement has created an opportunity for much observation and experimentation, listening to Envirothon coaches (mostly high school science teachers) and their students. Evaluation has confirmed that coaches find working with their teams with these resources to be a valuable professional development experience for themselves as well as a learning experience for their students. The samples that follow were developed for the 2019 Current Issue “Abundant, Affordable, Healthy Food”
  • Community Service Learning class – I was asked to develop and teach a course to introduce Community Service Learning to students in UMass Amherst’s Commonwealth Honors College. I taught this 4-credit fall semester class for six years (2007-2012):
    • Syllabus overview for H292s, Engaging with the Community:  An Introduction to Community Service Learning focusing on service experiences with local hunger and food security organizations and issues
  • Youth Environmental Conference – With corporate gift funding to the 4-H program, and input from UMass and community colleagues, high school educators and youth, and UMass students, I developed and coordinated The Earth Connection, an “action conference” on community service and the environment for high school age youth and their advisors, UMass Amherst, 1996-2002.

Program Evaluation 

Research Papers and Presentations