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Education

Kathy Tatman receives WAIC Educator of the Year Award

Douglas – “Wyoming Ag in the Classroom (WAIC) presents an educator of the year award annually to an exemplary educator in ag and natural resources. This person can be an agriculture educator, classroom teacher grade K-12, a conservation educator or a UW Extension Educator. They are nominated by their peers in an application that explains the curriculum and programs they’ve implemented in their classroom that are exemplary in the areas of ag and natural resources,” explained WAIC President Mantha Phillips at the 2010 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame picnic Aug. 18 in Douglas.
The 2010 Wyoming Ag in the Classroom (WAIC) Educator of the Year is Kathy Tatman of Lingle, whose involvement in agriculture has been lifelong.
“Kathy grew up on a farm and ranching operation in Pine Bluffs. Upon completion of college her husband Wayne took a job with the UW Cooperative Extension Service, where he worked for 34 years. Both Kathy and Wayne were highly involved in several areas of ag, including 4-H and FFA with their three sons, Shawn, Todd and Marty. They now own and operate ad cow-calf and farming operation in Goshen and Niobrara counties.
“Their interest in ag has carried on in the family as every family member has a BS degree from the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture. This even includes their daughter-in-law, Trisha,” explained Representative Cynthia Lummis, who presented the award to Tatman.
“The recipient of this award has to provide creativity in their approach to teaching ag and natural resources in the classroom. They also have to demonstrate how ag and natural resources have been incorporated in daily classroom practices and provide documentation showing evidence of a positive outcome of their program,” said Phillips.
Tatman started working with the Cent$ible Nutrition program through the UW Cooperative Extension Service in 2000. One phase of the program is working with public schools to educate students in forming healthy lifestyles.
“Kathy started with second and third grade students, teaching basic nutrition knowledge. She found other grades were also interested in nutritional information in the classroom. That is how Munching your way through Wyoming History started.
“She began revising, updating and adding curriculum to meet state standards in the social studies curriculum. She altered the program to a classroom setting with a five-lesson curriculum. The kid-tested and teacher-approved activities follow five groups of people that made significant contributions to the history of Wyoming. These include Native Americans, mountain men, pioneers, railroad works and cowboys,” explained Lummis.
Each lesson provides students with hands-on learning opportunities and includes sampling food eaten by people of that time period in addition to some type of physical activity.
“Students also compare food eaten in that time period to foods eaten today and compare the nutrition missing from the diets of each respective group. The kids understand the connection between food choices, physical activity and health. They also learn about the effects on ag in Wyoming by exploring past cultures and comparing them to their present day lifestyles,” noted Lummis.
She added that in the mid 1800s and early 1900s the entire Wyoming population was agrarian-based.
“Studying and experiencing agriculture in that time period has been extremely interesting and eye-opening for all involved,” added Lummis.
This fall Tatman’s program will be given to other Cent$ible Nutrition educators for use throughout the state in fourth grade classrooms.
“Our goal is to provide educators with science-based educational materials and support them in working toward a vision in which the interdependence of agriculture, people and natural resources are recognized and valued. Kathy will receive a check for $1,200 to be used as she sees fit. She also receives lodging in Douglas for the week of State Fair, a WAIC tote bag and a plaque,” explained Phillips.
“I would like to thank the WAIC board. It is so important that our young people learn about ag, as so often they don’t know anything about it. I am also very appreciative to the Fourth grade teachers that allowed me to come into their classrooms and pilot this program. They were phenomenal.
“I would also like to really thank my family for their encouragement and support. My husband edited the program, tasted the food and built different projects to be used in the classroom. Thank you to everyone for making this possible,” said Tatman of receiving the award.
Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..