A New Course!

by - December 21, 2011

It's funny how when I plug in to something I really enjoy or have a passion about, going to work is something I look forward to. Granted my version of going to work is sitting down on the red couch and opening my laptop, but it is work nonetheless. My education is in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. As a girl who grew up playing in creeks and streams, it only makes sense that I'd eventually pursue my advanced degree in the same. Truth is, I love water. My day is never complete without soaking in the tub, and in the summer without either taking the boys to the public pool or running the hose through the sprinkler. In high school, my AP Art study was on glass and water. I grew up taking family rafting trips, and in 2006 nearly lost my life rafting on the White Salmon River (another story for another time). When I was in the depth of my PhD studies in stream restoration, I couldn't pour out a glass of water without thinking of weir and flow equations.

It wasn't until 2005 after the purchase of our first house that I rediscovered my interest in gardening. When you hole away in dorm and apartment living for 5+ years, it's easy to get disconnected from the natural world, especially when it comes to growing plants. For a couple years now, I've wished there were a way to tie in this growing passion with my education experience. Enter water! There are people in my department who devote their research to rainwater recapture and runoff, and I've taken classes on irrigation, drainage, nutrient runoff and other water topics. I've taught many of the topics in my short teaching career since 2007. The information resources are available, and now I've been given the opportunity to start a BAE NCSU distance class titled, "BAE 590-606: Water and Nutrient Management for Home-Scale Agriculture."

BAE 590-606 will be nothing less than a labor of love. I as much look forward to learning as I prepare the course materials as I do in being able to offer the materials to others. This course will be grounded in practical application and accessible to the home gardener with little or no engineering and science background required, which is a welcome diversion from my more theory based courses. It's for people who love to grow their own food and want to do so sustainably and in an environmentally responsible way. Students will be presented with information on the needs of plants and soil and how to design and implement systems for water and nutrient management and then encouraged to implement their knowledge in their own garden. What I most look forward to are the side discussions as we are all preparing for our spring and summer crops.

This spring, the course will start out small, just for 1 credit hour, during which I will have to restrain myself from putting out too much information. If this goes well, then I think it could easily grow into a 3 hour course the following spring.

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3 comments

  1. congrats on the new course, dr. puckett! teaching a course you love is most certainly a labor of love. best wishes with it.

    wishing you & your family a wonderful christmas & all good things in 2012.

    sharon

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  2. Congratulations! That sounds very exciting.

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  3. Sounds great! Looking forward to 2012, then?? ;-)

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