The Irrigation Foundation hosted agriculture and landscape versions of its highly regarded Irrigation Faculty Academy. This is the first year the Foundation hosted a separate agriculture track. The two separate events allowed instructors to network with fellow academics and learn about irrigation-related curriculum that can be used in the classroom.
Landscape Faculty Academy
The 13th annual Landscape Irrigation Faculty Academy was held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, June 18 – 19. Twenty-five instructors representing 19 schools attended the event, with 11 first-time attendees. Educators participated in sessions on a variety of topics:
- Anatomy of an irrigation system
- Installation of irrigation components
- Irrigation scheduling
- Drip auditing
- Slide rules
- Soil sensor technology
“[Irrigation Faculty Academy] presenters were excellent and very knowledgeable,” said Martha G. Hill of Hinds Community College (Raymond, Mo.) in a post-event survey. Hill noted that she plans to attend the event again to network with other educators and to get new ideas for teaching irrigation in the classroom.
Attendees also toured Hydro-Rain, Inc.’s facilities and BYU’s circulation stream and water feature. This year’s landscape event was sponsored by BYU (Provo, Utah); Hunter Industries, Inc. (San Marcos, Calif.); Hydro-Rain, Inc. (North Salt Lake, Utah); and ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance (Calabasas, Calif.).
Agriculture Faculty Academy
The innaugural Agriculture Faculty Academy was held June 25 – 26 at the Irrigation Training and Research Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Thirty-nine high school and college instructors attended the inaugural event and took part in sessions on:
- Basic hydraulics
- Center pivot technologies
- Pressurized irrigation
- Pumps and filtration
- Automation tools (solenoids, sensors, electrical controls)
- Pipes and fittings
Attendees enjoyed an irrigation tour of Wild Horses Winery & Vineyards, as well as a local irrigation system.
The 2015 event was sponsored by California Community Colleges System (Sacramento, Calif.); Irrometer Company, Inc. (Riverside, Calif.); ITRC (San Luis Obispo, Calif.); and Wild Horse Winery (Templeton, Calif.).
Both versions of Faculty Academy help ensure that the next generation of irrigators receives quality instruction with peer-reviewed materials. Attendees also provide the Foundation with valuable insight on student recruitment opportunities and challenges.
Registration for the event is free to qualified educators. The Irrigation Foundation provides grant assistance to attendees in an effort to help offset related travel expenses. Donor dollars make the event possible and underwrote nearly $10,000 in travel assistance to instructors who otherwise would not have been able to attend.
To sponsor Irrigation Faculty Academy or be part of the 2016 Event Planning Task Group, contact Foundation Manager Janine Sparrowgrove (firstname.lastname@example.org; 703-536-7080).