Paul Longshore teaches a gifted GATE class at Galileo Academy 101 in Victorville. Paul is an active MEEC teacher and is involved in many of our programs and grants. Paul started college as a bio major and had no intention of teaching. His first indication that it might be something he might consider was when a Physics teacher at Victor Valley College let him have an old telescope the teacher had at home because he knew that one day Paul would be using it with kids. Unfazed, he transferred to Cal State and once again was impacted by another teacher who taught Paul the importance of preservation not only in the local ecosystems of the San Bernardino Mountains, but as far reaching as the Blue Footed Booby who shakes it blue feet to attract its mate! After this, Paul was definitely hooked and wanted to teach. Paul taught middle school science for 6 years and has been teaching at the elementary level for the past 11 years. “It has been the quickest 17 years of my life” states Paul.
Some of the highlights in Paul’s life have been the sixteen middle school students who qualified for the State Science Fair and the accomplishment of two of those students who placed at the State competition. One was by a 6th grader who compared plant populations in areas burned in local forests while the other was an 8th grader who compared the diets of Burrowing Owls in an agricultural region versus a non agricultural region.
Paul was nominated for and received the 2009 MEEC teacher of Excellence Award, and was selected to participate in the 2009 Death Valley EnviRetreat. Paul has had multiple students enter and win prizes on issues sponsored by the MEEC sponsor Essay Contests. “The MEEC essay contests allow my students to research and write about today’s issues plus gives them a cash incentive to do their best,” reports Paul.
Paul has also received multiple MEEC Garden Grants that have allowed students to research, fertilize, plant, irrigate, weed, and harvest pumpkins at their school as well as doing the same for a small but growing apple orchard that will be adding four new trees for a total of twelve trees this coming school year, mostly funded by the MEEC Garden Grants.
Paul has also received multiple EE Mini Grants that provided funding for students to raise and release trout with partnerships with the Department of Fish and Game and the Deep Creek Fly Fishers Association; and made funding possible for students to research, build, and design eco friendly cars of the future. The students also offer solar charged batteries to staff for use with the schools digital cameras.
Paul takes advantage of all the programs that MEEC has to offer, including participation in the Youth Environmental Leadership Conferences (YELC), and the EnviroBus Bucks Transportation Grant Program. Through the EBB grant, Paul’s students have hiked the Kelso Dunes with a Mojave National Park Ranger, attended a day of Environmental Study at Edwards Air Force Base which also included a trip to the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, and a day of learning at the Barstow Desert Discovery Center.
Finally, this environmentally active teacher has encouraged his students to take charge and has co-sponsored the “Green Gladiator Club” on campus which is responsible for collecting recyclables and policing classes to make sure they are doing their part. With a grant from the Victorville Rotary, Paul’s class went to Desert Knolls Convalescent Home and put on a show for the residents which highlighted many environmental issues.
Paul shares this quote with all teachers: “The programs MEEC offers allows my students not only to learn about environment issues but to live them! It does not get any better than that!”