Hoppes nominated for 'Educator of the Year'

Hoppes
Hoppes

REED CITY — In recognition of his achievements in agriscience education at Reed City High School, Jerry Hoppes has been nominated by the Osceola County Farm Bureau for Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) 2014 “Educator of the Year” award.

The purpose of the award is to recognize teachers who have done an outstanding job of integrating basic agricultural concepts in the school curriculum, developed problem solving skills through analysis and showed consistent teaching excellence.

Hoppes has been a teacher for 18 years and has been employed at Reed City High School since 1999. Hoppes is currently teaching a biodome class, Earth science, biology and outdoor education to approximately 250 students.

“Mr. Hoppes uses a hands-on teaching style that allows students to learn by doing,” said Janet Schmidt, of the Osceola County Farm Bureau. “He is excited about what he is teaching and that energy is transferred to his students. This is the second year Mr. Hoppes was nominated for this award. We hope he is Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2014 “Educator of the Year” winner.”

Reed City High School has a 51-foot diameter geodesic growing dome green house that was constructed in the fall of 2010 and has 2,200 square feet of ground space. Reed City High School is the first northern Michigan school to have a growing dome. Hoppes’ landscape design class designed and built the perimeter, growing beds which now have a variety of herbs and vegetables growing in them. The beds help insulate the base of the building and help regulate the internal climate. Students have a chance for hands-on experiences with potted plants, flowers and vegetables. They do research to determine the types of soils needed and also learn how to make traditional soil beds. The raised bed gardening along with the district’s recycling program using semi tires as framework for raised beds.

The biodome class teaches vermiculture composing and soil classification, hydroponics and aquaponic systems. They incorporate alternative energy projects to help with production in the class. There are two large ponds inside the dome and one contains 300 perch. The nitrogen from the water feeds plants that are in beds 6 feet above the ponds. Students must test water quality daily and record their findings.

Students learn about pest control and safe ways to reduce or get rid of them. They must detect and determine if there are nutrient deficiencies with the plants they are growing.