Kisha Shelton, University of Georgia
The Office of Public Affairs and Education (OPAE) of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) presented an exhibit at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Agricultural Career Show in Louisville, KY, in October 2002. The primary goal was to increase student awareness of and interest in plant pathology as a viable and fulfilling career choice.
Kimberly Gwinn, Sharon Greene, and David Trently, who represented APS, followed the Halloween theme by presenting the "ghoulish" side of plant pathology. Students learned about plant diseases at the APS "Horrors of the Harvest" exhibit, which displayed specimens of corn smut, crown gall, Armillaria, and fruit mummies. The APS "Ghoul Drool" exhibit provided a unique opportunity for students to isolate DNA and sparked many conversations and discussions on genetic engineering.
The 2002 show was the largest in the FFA's history, and the APS booth was busy throughout the show. The APS booth had an excellent representation of interested students and the representatives were pleased to have so many opportunities to discuss plant pathology and plant pathology career options with students.
Educators also found the APS booth to be helpful. APS representatives passed out information on the APSnet Education Center, in which the teachers expressed a lot of interest, particularly in the K-12 lessons that are outlined on APSnet. The exhibit poster "Plants Get Sick Too" was especially popular, catching the attention of students and teachers alike.
APS has made plans to present another exhibit at the 2003 FFA show, which will take place in Louisville KY from October 29 to November 1. Kisha Shelton and others from Georgia will represent APS at this year's convention. Although a theme for the hands-on demonstrations has yet to be decided, they plan on building on last year's "ghoulish" side of plant pathology.
Materials about the APSnet Education Center will be available to educators who express an interest in plant pathology. For more information about registration, see the FFA website: http://www.ffa.org/convention/index.htmlBe sure to look for the APS booth if you attend.