Fifth Annual "Exploring Fungi" Workshop
The Department of Plant Pathology held its fifth annual "Exploring Fungi" workshop for high school biology teachers on August 5-7, 2013 at North Carolina State University. Teachers from Harnett, Mecklenburg, Granville, Franklin and Wake counties in North Carolina were joined by undergraduate students and a professor from Middle Georgia State University in a program designed to encourage high school students to investigate concepts in the biology curriculum using fungi as model organisms. The three-day workshop focused on laboratory activities that illustrated elements in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study using fungi. Outdoor environmental activities that increased student awareness of the importance of fungi in ecosystem function, especially nutrient cycling, and the relative importance of science literacy and potential of citizen science in the high school curriculum, were also conducted. The teachers and undergraduate students also had an opportunity to interact with scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This program has been made possible through the continued and generous support from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and National Science Foundation (submitted by Caroline S. Vernia and Marc A. Cubeta).