St. Francis High School Science teacher D.C. Randle has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Teacher Award. The state association recognizes outstanding teacher of natural resource conservation.
The Anoka Conservation District nominated Randle for the award, which he will receive at the association’s awards luncheon at the Double Tree Hotel in Bloomington Monday, Dec. 2.
“Mr. Randle strives to teach beyond the textbook and get students involved hands-on,” said Anoka Conservation District Water Resource Specialist Jamie Schurbon.
“While a trip into his creature-filled classroom is a field trip itself, his students also don waders, paddle canoes and even fly to the rain forest. Combined with his energy and passion, the experiences in Mr. Randle’s classroom are not soon forgotten by students.
“His curriculum has not only taught students about natural resources, but also motived them to act at home. Some have even pursued natural resources careers. Therefore, the Anoka Conservation District staff and supervisors believe Mr. Randle is deserving of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Teacher Award.”
A few of Randle’s programs that illustrate his teaching approach include:
• Rum River biomonitoring – For the last 15 years Randle has taken 1,224 students wading in the Rum River to monitor river health. The work is done with and for the Anoka Conservation District, who benefit from having “many hands” to capture and identify aquatic insects and other macroinvertebrates. The students gain from working with professionals on a project that will be applied beyond the classroom.
• Rum River float trip – The Rum River is one of Randle’s favorite classrooms, perhaps because it is one of Minnesota’s seven Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers. Annually he takes classes on float trips down the river. Curriculum is integrated into the trip. On one recent trip the students inventoried non-point source pollutant sources.
• Peruvian rainforest research – Randle takes students to participate in a long-term research project in the rainforests of Peru. This international travel for select students is the opportunity of a lifetime. “While it may not seem directly applicable to Minnesota, collecting and analyzing data in some of the most threatened ecosystems of the world is motivation for conservation in our own backyard,” Schurbon said. “Some students use it as a resume builder for a planned natural resources career.”
• Wildlife Science Center – For a more local look at wildlife research, Randle’s classes visit the Wildlife Science Center in nearby Forest Lake. Here, in the largest metro wildlife management area, they see wolves and other wildlife, and learn directly from managers and researchers.
• Cedar Creek Ecosytem Science Reserve – Randle’s classes visit the University of Minnesota’s world-class, nine square-mile, ecological research facility in northern Anoka County to peer into the state’s plant communities. Students see Minnesota’s three major biomes and learn why they are important.
“I just want to share about Minnesota’s natural history and help students ensure that we have these intact environments for many generations in the future,” said Randle in response to the honor.