My name is Wendy Tinkelenberg and I live in North Pole Alaska with my wonderful husband, and son who just turned 14. My family and I came to Alaska from North Carolina and before that Arizona, which is where I grew up. We have lived in this glorious state for twelve years and knew shortly after we arrived that we wanted to stay.
I grew up in a family of educators but always avoided the “teaching bug” until this past May when I completed the UAF post baccalaureate teacher certification program. I am currently in the last stages of my M.Ed. and will finish in August (yea!). I will be teaching 5th grade at Midnight Sun next year and can’t wait! This is the main reason I am taking this class.
A hallmark of my teaching philosophy is relevant, place-based education. One thing I have not had the opportunity to do yet is immerse myself in the vast flora found in Alaska. Sure, I know the basics like what a birch tree is, but I want to understand more about our boreal forest and plants in general so I can share that knowledge with my students.
Eighth grade science was one of my favorite years because we studied taxonomy. I loved learning the scientific names and classifications for animals and plants. I distinctly remember long car rides where I would gaze out the window and list the scientific names of the plants and trees I saw (Yes, this was before iPads and portable electronic games.).
I do love filling my home with houseplants and flowerbeds in the summer however, I am hard pressed to name a favorite plant because they all have their own wonderful characteristics or attachments to special memories or places. Currently, I am enjoying orchids. The way they flower amazes me particularly when a flower stem begins to emerge from another stem.