Making the Grade: Annemarie Goetz
Annemarie Goetz brings her passion for the natural world to work every day at the Keystone Science School (KSS), where she teaches environmental issues, forest, aquatic, snow and earth science. Four years of field-based positions have allowed her to eschew classroom walls for the great outdoors.She began in the field with an internship at the Gore Range Natural Science School in Red Cliff, and then spent a year in California teaching ecology. During the past five years, she has led summer backcountry trips for teens, teaching science and performing stewardship projects in National Parks and Forest Service lands.Inspiration: My formal training is in wildlife biology and botany. I really like sharing what I know with others and spending time with people. I was always the one who was teaching friends in college during study sessions.
I grew up camping, hiking and exploring the natural world with my parents. I feel that my curiosity of the world and the quality of life I enjoy stems from this background. Science and the natural world provide endless opportunities for discovery and gaining knowledge of yourself and the rest of the world.Motivation: I like seeing students make connections between what they learn in the classroom and in the natural world. Science becomes less abstract and more relevant within the context of their everyday lives.I had a boy last year start out his week at KSS stating that science was boring. After two days in the field, he looked up from the creek, hands searching for macroinvertebrates, to exclaim, “Science is so cool!”It was very encouraging to light a spark of interest and curiosity in a child.
Teaching philosophy: We should teach students how to think critically by always asking questions, being creative and making decisions at early ages. Incorporating hands-on experience with traditional education will create a more well-rounded human who will be ready to step into the world as a decision-maker, not an encyclopedia of unrelated facts.Challenges: In my field, I only have students for a short time. Because of my time constraints with students, the toughest thing about my job is not being able to do more with them and build upon basic concepts.Accomplishment: Being able to work at an organization where I feel proud of what I am doing.
Role model: My mother – she is an incredibly strong woman who has always inspired me to believe that I could accomplish anything and that just because you grow older doesn’t mean you have to slow down.If I had $100,000: I would restore and renovate the historic cabins which currently serve as staff housing.Extracurricular: Rock climbing, backpacking, telemark skiing, gardening and reading – any activity where I am moving and outdoors.My students would be surprised to know: I have traveled to Canada, Mexico, Germany, England and Niger, Africa, and have visited 35 states in the United States.
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