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Peggy Foletta

Peggy Foletta

Ms. Peggy Foletta, a biology and environmental science teacher and the science department chair at Kingsburg High School in Kingsburg, California, USA, was recently recognized as the Fresno County (California) Teacher of the Year. Ms. Foletta is also an outstanding GLOBE Master Trainer and U.S. Partnership Coordinator. She has trained GLOBE teachers in more than fifty workshops in the United States and Germany. Through her involvement with GLOBE, she has collaborated with staff, scientists, technology coordinators, teachers, trainers and students from all over the world at four GLOBE Learning Expeditions (GLEs), all of whom contributed to experiences of her students and the teachers at Kingsburg High School.

When asked if GLOBE helped her to become a better teacher, Ms. Foletta enthusiastically replied, "Absolutely! I've used the activities included in the GLOBE Teacher's Guide in my classes, I've written curriculum around GLOBE topics, and I've taught about the scientific method by having students design environmental projects using GLOBE protocols. I started an integrated river project with other teachers from my school with the focus of the local river in which science students studied land cover, macro invertebrates and water quality testing, tree identification and related measurements, as well as soils. English teachers taught observational writing and poetry, art students learned nature sketching, math students measured trees, history students reported on the history of our local river, and technology  students took photos and made presentations on what everyone was doing. My AP students have done long-term studies of water quality in Yosemite watersheds on multiday field trips."

What sparked Ms. Folleta's interest in GLOBE? Oddly enough, a workshop announcement appeared in her mailbox back in 1995, just when Ms. Foletta was looking at water and air quality with her students. Kingsburg High School is located in an agricultural area in California and the students were concerned about pesticides in the local water supply and ozone and other pollutants in the air. Not only would working with GLOBE provide data about the local area, the students would be the ones collecting the data. What better motivation could there be for students to engage in their own research on the environment, than the opportunity to go outside and collect the data that they would be analyzing? "I signed up for the GLOBE workshop, and my classes have never been the same!"

Being part of a community of people who are concerned about the environment and are studying and analyzing data in their home areas, has provided countless opportunities. "I have had groups of my students visit the home towns of GLOBE students in Finland and Germany after going to GLE's to present their own projects. I've had numerous student groups carry out projects assisted by GLOBE scientists and some of the scientists visited us and went with us out to collect data in the field. I have a huge network of friends because of GLOBE, both adults and students."  

With this kind of passion and enthusiasm for teaching it is not hard to understand why Ms. Folleta was voted Teacher of the Year in her community. The award is a source of pride to those who know her -in her school and in the greater GLOBE community- as everyone benefits from the long-term results of good teaching. "I've had so many students go into environment-related fields," writes Ms. Foletta. "And with social networking I've been able to keep in touch with many of them. GLOBE has really made a difference for many, many of my students' lives!"

Peggy Foletta looks forward to her continuing collaboration with GLOBE, on her river project and with the Student Climate Research Campaign. "GLOBE gives teachers the structure for focusing lessons on environmental issues and provides them with ways students can study the environment of their home areas, contribute their data to the worldwide database and do authentic research. It's important that current students understand climate change and learn ways to prepare for the future."