Beehiving and more
Environmental Science Teacher Liza Goetz – everything, everywhere can be interconnected.
Liza Goetz’s classroom is overwhelmingly engaging and bursting with activity. It is full of tanks housing various creatures and ecosystems including saltwater and freshwater fish, corals, a horseshoe crab, a terrarium, and a bearded dragon. There are posters, models, and projects covering the walls, occupying shelves and tables, and hanging from the ceiling. There was even dirt on some of the tables from the previous classes’ soil lab. Mrs. Goetz has taught Agriculture Science, Environmental Science, and AP Environmental Science at Kent County High School for seven years. With a smile, she describes herself as, “not a normal teacher,” who was drawn to teaching after her and her children’s involvement in the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts when she worked in private landscaping. Mrs. Goetz has since written both state and national curriculum and was named Kent County’s Teacher of the Year in 2015.
Mrs. Goetz completed the CRWO’s interdisciplinary River to Bay (R2B) program in its second year in 2013. She says that the “interrelationships [teachers] developed from R2B are crucial to cross-curricular learning” and that the material “ties well with what she’s already teaching.” She further emphasized that the program’s style of teaching, namely hands-on, real-world applications that get students engaged in their local environment, makes the material she teaches even more accessible to non-traditional students. It shows people that you don’t always have to “sit in your seat and be neat and tidy when you learn”. As Mrs. Goetz gave me a tour of the greenhouse and aquaponics facilities, she explained, “it’s not ‘welcome to class, here’s a worksheet.’ I try to teach the way I’d like to be taught.”
“Her (Liza’s) mantra after completing the R2B program has become, “ What do you see? What does it mean? What do you want to do about it?”
While we examined the beehive that was purchased with grant funds from the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, Mrs. Goetz elaborated on how programs, curriculum, and materials provided by R2B are helpful in enriching student’s educations and including environmental literacy in a more comprehensive way. She said that CRWO’s cooperation with KCHS and it’s agriculture and environmental science program is critical in providing students with an understanding of “how things work together and are interconnected.” She shares that her mantra after completing the R2B program has become, “ What do you see? What does it mean? What do you want to do about it?”
Mrs. Goetz passionately recommends the program to teachers who have not participated in it, saying “[the program] is offered to all subject areas, and everything, everywhere can be interconnected. Don’t hesitate to enter the program because it won’t only help you, it will help your students.” After spending the morning with her, if you are anything like Mrs. Liza Goetz, your students are pretty well off already.
Teacher Profile- Liza Goetz
Written By: Kirstin Webb, CRWO Intern