NMC teacher honored for conservation efforts

MCBAIN — Northern Michigan Christian School teacher and administrator Dirk Walhout was named the Missaukee Conservation District’s “Conservation Educator of the Year.”

Walhout began his work with the agriculture program at NMCS in 2010. In three short years, he has led the school in broadening it’s agricultural department to include a greenhouse and garden that produced 947 pounds of fresh produce in the 2012 growing season, two bee hives which produced 15 gallons of honey, a flock of laying hens and seven pigs.

The most significant development in the program during the last year, however, is the dual-enrollment collaboration between NMCS and Baker College in Cadillac.  NMCS agriculture students, while enrolled in the program, also are receiving four Baker College credits per class. Because of the recent passing of state laws, there is no additional tuition cost to NMCS families.

“Dirk’s innovative integration of agriculture into Northern Michigan Christian’s School community has been nothing short of fabulous,” said Sherry L. Blaszak, Executive Director of the Missaukee Conservation District. “Raising chickens, growing crops, (working in) the kitchen preparing the food that is raised, giving kitchen scraps to pigs they are raising, building a greenhouse, native garden plans, involvement from the entire school from kindergarten to 12th grade ... all of these progressive ideas and more entitle Dirk to receive this prestigious award.”

Walhout will be receiving the Conservation Educator of the Year Award at Missaukee Conservation District’s 63rd Annual Dinner taking place at 5:30 p.m. on Feb.18, at Timber Wolf Lake Camp.