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The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators: Katie

We were so glad to welcome Katie Townsend to our on-farm educator team this spring! Learn more about Katie's background in outdoor education and the Learning Center below.

How long have you worked at Angelic Organics Learning Center?

I have worked at Angelic Organics Learning Center for over 4 years. Mostly at the Rockford Urban Initiative - Roots and Wings. I have done river studies and assisted in a few on-farm classes through the years. Starting this spring, I have worked part-time at the farm. What fun!

What experiences inform your work at the Learning Center?

I have my own business called NEST (Nature Education Stewardship Team). The mission (paraphrased) is to provide experiences to connect people with the environment BUT in places with populations and on topics that are not being served by other nature providers. Some memorable contracts I have had are working with a Children’s Hospital in Denver to provide a nature experience that would relax and build self-esteem in children that have been disfigured by burns. This winter was a highlight, too, as I taught winter ecology in Knoxville, Tennessee to a homeschool cooperative and my 10 year-old niece and apprentice taught alongside me.

I also like creative writing and wrote the original audio trail for the Klehm Arboretum in Rockford, IL.

What classes do you teach?

Baby Plants and Animals and Kids with Kids Day Camp. I will be involved in overnights, which melds well with my recreation background in camping.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I love people and like my working hours to be full of social contact, but I refuel on my own. I actually like to ski, paddle, and hike on my own. Well, my english shepherd Addie is invited.

Favorite thing to grow and/or eat? Favorite farm animal?

My favorite thing to grow is kale. I like eating it too.  My favorite farm animals at the Learning Center are baby goats.  I love sheepdogs and have always owned a herding breed.

What has been your most rewarding teaching experience at the farm?

My favorite teaching experience happened after the formal teaching itself was done. That is really how experiential education works. A camper and her family along with a few others had the opportunity to help delivery baby goats. The camper had cared for the mother when she was a kid. Then at Kids with Kids day camp this same goat now pregnant was her charge. After the camp ended the mother goat gave birth with the camper assisting. I love the circle of life thing.