Introduction: Wendy Tinkelenberg

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.

One comment

  1. Welcome Wendy,
    congrats on your new career path, I am excited for your students and your passion for teaching. Many orchids make great houseplants, and do rather well in Alaska with the right care. Getting them to bloom again is a great sign you are doing the right things for them. Alaska has its own riches of orchids, as you will see in iNaturalist or some of your fellow students might collect some for the herbarium specimens. I think Julie Zundel already pressed one. The Calypso orchid is common in the Interior. Here is another closer look at the flower.

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