It’s Plant Sale Week at Parkland

Parkland College invites the public to its 11th annual Greenhouse Spring Plant Sale, May 3 through 5 and May 8 through 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual sale is an opportunity to showcase the work that our agriculture and horticulture students have been doing over the course of the semester. We asked Theresa Meers, who coordinates the popular semiannual Greenhouse Plant Sale, a few questions to find out more about the sale.

Q: What is the difference between the Parkland plant sale and a local nursery selling plants?

A: The students have been involved in the planning, seeding, growing, and now the sale of the plants, so it’s been a learning experience from the beginning. We have a very small selection of plants compared to the local nurseries, so we are not competing with them. Some of the plants we tried did not even make it to the point of being able to sell, which is a learning experience in itself. The funds go into the Horticulture account to help pay for greenhouse and other horticulture-related expenses.

Q: What role do students play in the plant sale?

A: Students have been involved from the planning phase, specifically through the agri-business work experience courses AGB 191 and 291; HRT 270, Greenhouse Production; and a new class HRT 111, Sustainable Urban Horticulture. Selling the plants is the reward of all their hard work. They will act as salespeople and answer customer questions.

Q: What kinds of plants are available for sale?

A: Because the students choose which plants to grow, each year is different. This year, we have lots of hanging baskets and annuals, plus some veggies and tropical plants. There is a limited selection of perennials this year.

Q: What new initiatives are you planning for this growing season?

A: We are in the second year of our sustainable plot between W and T buildings, so we are hoping to harvest a wider grouping of plants this year.

The greenhouse is located on the west side of the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center on the west side of campus. Great vegetable plants, annuals, perennials, tropicals, hanging baskets, and other ready-made containers (great for Mothers’ Day gifts or your own yard) will be available.

Cash or checks only, please. For more information, contact Theresa Meers at tmeers@parkland.edu.

 [Hilary Valentine is associate director for Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this month and throughout the year, Parkland College is dedicated to supporting families and reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect.

Even if you’re not a parent, almost everyone knows or is somehow connected to children through family or friends. You don’t have to be a professional to spend time and offer appropriate affection and support to the kids in your life.

Being the best parent you can be involves taking steps to strengthen your family and finding support when you need it. Parenting is part natural and part learned; you can supplement your natural skills with questions for your family doctor, your child’s teacher, family or friends. Books, websites, and parenting classes can also be helpful for ideas on how to deal with new challenges as your child grows up. Parenting isn’t something you have to do alone. When you have the knowledge, skills, and resources you need, you can raise a happy, healthy child.

Find out more about activities and programs in your community that support parents and promote healthy families. Dial 2-1-1 from any telephone in Champaign County and you’ll be connected with trained specialists who can help refer you to the variety of assistance programs available in the area.

A comprehensive tipsheet for parents and caregivers can also be found at: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/tipsheets_2017_en.pdf

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Internationalizing Parkland Curriculum: A Personal Journey

A few years ago, Parkland College Study Abroad Coordinator Jody Littleton challenged me to think about how my classes could be different and possibly even better through adding more cultural reflection. When teaching in the quantitative sciences, it is easy to overlook the power that curriculum infused with an international perspective can have on student learning.

I had fallen prey to the mindset that I just needed to “get through the material” as presented in the book and on the Course Information Forms. After ruminating on her suggestion, though, I realized that I might be able to teach specific topics better if I created well-thought-out assessments with a global outlook. Jody and I continued the conversation, and when several Parkland faculty partnered with Joliet Junior College to travel to China a month ago (March 2017), I joined in.

It was a trip of a lifetime that opened my eyes to what may have been missing from my teaching. For one, this trip made my feet itch with the desire to travel outside of the US for my professional development. How can I teach about unique nutritional deficiencies, different modes of physical activity in the world, living quarters’ impact on health, medical training, and more if I only have a book for reference? I also quickly realized that my perspectives on China had been missing critical pieces of information; once abroad, I was able to form a holistic picture of Chinese culture and better compare it to the US as well as other to countries I have visited. While many topics I had studied prior to my trip were “mostly correct,” visiting China clarified several misconceptions, gave me a new appreciation, and allowed me to better understand the full picture.

What I Learned During the Faculty Study Abroad

  • I was shocked to see how quickly China is becoming Westernized, to the point that McDonald’s delivers in many cities in China. At the train station waiting for the bullet train, there were two KFC restaurants as well as a McDonald’s in one moderate-sized train station.
  • At the farmer’s market, we saw many choices that we don’t see in the United States. Lamb intestine, cow stomach, chicken feet, and more were sitting out for purchase from morning until evening, with patrons bringing them home to cook for dinner. When we were invited to eat with the Nanjing Technical School faculty and deans, we were able to sample more of the local fair, including duck heads, a native delicacy. (In case you were wondering, you eat duck heads like oysters.)
  • Most places we ate at served food “family style” with a turntable in the center. Plates were significantly smaller than in the US. Because everyone is sharing, I didn’t want to take more food than would be socially appropriate, so, it encouraged me to eat more modest portions than I am accustomed to eating. I also learned that rice is often not served in China if the host would like to impress you with the quality of food offered. Rice is not the food of the rich. The rich eat a meat- and fish-based diet with significantly fewer vegetables than China has historically consumed. In turn, there is a marked rise in obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
  • Even on good days, the smog in some locations of China would impede my ability to see the sun and, possibly, my ability to synthesize enough vitamin D to meet my nutritional needs without supplementation/fortification.
  • Toilets in China are often similar to the stalls you see here.  We discussed that women would realistically need to retain the ability to perform a deep squat if they were to use a public toilet. However, it seemed of little concern as many older individuals in China had a greater range of motion than we see in the US. Possibly due to the toilets?
  • When we visited a local park at 10  a.m. during the weekday, we noted that many people engaged in exercise…dance, tai chi, fencing, badminton, etc. Retirees in China do not retire to the couch. They get out during the day to enjoy other’s company as well as keep active physically and mentally.

How What I Learned Changed My Curriculum

  • Now, in each module of my BIO 120 class (Fundamentals of Nutrition), students have the opportunity to present a module-specific cultural comparison between China and the US. During the digestive system module, students can discuss the incidence of specific GI disorders in China relative to the US. For example, a student researched and found a higher incidence of lactose intolerance/maldigestion in China due to both environmental and genetic factors.
  • My KIN 288 (Exercise Physiology) class is finding peer-reviewed journal articles comparing topics such as air quality impact on VO2max, changes in childhood obesity rates in response to Westernization, and the selection and training of Olympic hopefuls in China.
  • In all of my classes, students have the option of creating a video focusing on the cultural comparison between China and the US. We are partnering with our PCTV studio, and many of the videos will become available on YouTube mid-May.

Overall, visiting China was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I constantly took pictures, spoke with locals, and absorbed all the nuances I could. Other Parkland College faculty who participated in this grant echo my sentiments, and we plan to collectively present  about our experiences this September. We look forward to sharing more of our perspectives then.

[An associate professor in  Natural Sciences, Toni Burkhalter was Parkland College’s Teaching Excellence Award winner for 2016].

New Workshops to Spark Kids’ Passion for Hands-on Careers

This summer, Parkland College is offering a new series of technology camps for kids ages 13 to 18 years old, camps that will spark their interest in what could be in-demand, hands-on careers in their (not-too-distant) future.

A longtime provider of summer educational experiences for the area’s youth, Parkland’s Business Training and Community Education department will hold its Machining/Welding, Automotive, and Mapping Technology camps in June. All taught by experienced Parkland College faculty members, each camp will feature Parkland’s state-of-the-art facilities and and high-tech equipment, giving students a taste of real-world work experience in each of the fields.

Machining and Welding Camp, June 19–29
In this new camp, youth will learn to use a manual lathe and manipulate metal in a safe and supervised environment, making really cool (or should we say, hot!) projects to take home. Along with creating great summer memories, this camp is sure to provide students with a one-of-a-kind experience, working in a high-tech lab using the latest manufacturing industry technology. As they develop “mind over metal,” kids will gain tangible skills, igniting a sense of confidence. Well-suited to the “maker minded” student, this camp may even inspire them to consider welding as a possible career option.

Mapping with Technology Camp, June 5–8
Do you know where your backyard ends and your neighbor’s yard begins? Have you ever wondered how maps are designed? A surveyor can tell you! Surveyors measure and draw what the earth’s surface looks like. Using special tools, survey technicians collect facts about the land, draw sketches, take GPS readings, and enter this information in a computer to determine the elevation and curvature of a plot of land. In this camp, students will learn how professional surveyors use the latest high-tech tools to create maps and use them to make decisions to build structures and develop land.

Automotive Summer Camp, June 12–15 (16–18 years) or June 19–22 (14–16 years)
Back by popular demand! The Automotive Summer Camp is designed for kids who consider themselves gearheads and love being around cars. Students will learn basic automotive technology: the proper way to change oil, common engine malfunctions, and how to keep a vehicle running in top-performing condition. Youth gain practical, real-world skills that could accelerate their future careers in the automotive industry!

***To register for any or all of the technology camps in this new series, please visit www.parkland.edu/btceRegister and use the “search for a class” feature at the upper right.***

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Cyber Safety, Part 2: Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying isn’t just a problem for adolescents; it often impacts those who have long since left high school behind. If you find yourself being bullied or harassed online, there are a few steps you can take to remedy the situation.

  1. Document all evidence of the bullying, taking screenshots or pictures of any messages, posts, or comments that are made. You should also block the person who is cyberbullying.
  2. Next, report that evidence to the online service providers. Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and Internet service providers, and they can take action against the users who are abusing their sites. This not only protects you but stops others from being bullied as well.
  3. Finally, depending on the severity of the bullying, bring the evidence you have to law enforcement as well. This should definitely be done when the bullying involves threats of violence, sexually explicit messages or posts, stalking and hate crimes, or taking photos or videos of someone where they would reasonably expect privacy.

The Pew Research Center estimates that 40% of adult Internet users have personally experienced some form of online harassment. If you or someone you know is the victim of online bullying, please reach out and start the process to freedom from cyberbullying.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

 

Go ahead, get ahead.