The Haslam's Host Stratford Students in their Home
On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 the Biotechnology II students from Statford STEM Magnet High School visited the Governor’s Mansion where Governor Haslam and his wife, First Lady Chrissy Haslam reside. We were invited to tour the vegetable gardens with U.T. Agricultural Extension’s David Cook and a few Master Gardeners. Mr. Cook prepared an excellent workshop for us to learn about heirloom crops, hybrid crops, and genetically-modified crops. Our food crops have changed considerably since the days of wild food crops and in more recent years, scientists have learned to insert specific genes from one DNA source into another DNA source allowing for specific traits in the modified plants, such as Bt-corn, which kills the corn borer that destroys the crop. As he explained these variations in our food sources, he provided a Mendel’s skit of participation for students. It was very informative and several ate peppers and beans from the garden. Next, First Lady Haslam gave us a tour of the Governor’s Mansion and enlightened us with several historical stories about paintings, punch bowls, shuffle boards (Elvis played on this shuffle board) and other pertinent facts relative to the mansion. Last, but not least, we visited the kitchen where the Chef Stephen Ward prepared a plate of sea bass and fresh vegetables in about 10 minutes, while explaining different herbs and sauces that bring a meal to life. Each student was able to sample the dish and take plenty of pictures.
The First Lady posed for pictures with the group and with individual students. It was an inspirational and educational trip, which was prepared especially for our curriculum in cooperation with U.T. Agricultural Extension. Field trips are among the First Lady’s priorities as stated on her website, https://news.tn.gov/node/12874.
Therein she states, “We hope to provide a variety of learning opportunities at the Tennessee Residence,” Mrs. Haslam said. “Students and teachers have visited our Kitchen and Cutting Garden to become more familiar with where their food comes from and how to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.” We am very grateful to her and her excellent staff for making this possible.
Darlene Gunther Biotechnology Teacher Stratford STEM Magnet High School