Making connections to nature through working in a college garden.
Elenahas been teaching with the Phoenix College Biosciences Department in the Maricopa Community College System for eleven years. She has taught environmental biology and general biology for non-majors. Her newest class is Plants and Society, a basic botany course for non-majors. As part of teaching this class, she brings her personal interest for gardening into the classroom. She says the garden is a great place to introduce, or reintroduce, students to nature and ecology. Elena has a PhD in Plant Biology from ASU, a Master of Science in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her interests in ecology and gardening were both heavily influenced by her maternal grandfather who was a family doctor and gentleman farmer in Puerto Rico who retired on his farm. As a young girl, she would follow him around as he would spend the day working on projects, in his garden and orchid collection, or his farm. She credits him for most of the knowledge of the natural history of Puerto Rico that she still remembers today.
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