Weather Not a Factor

One of the perils of traveling to speak in January is the weather. Who knows when you might get stuck in an airport someplace. That was not a problem this week as I was speaking close to home. I spoke at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at North Carolina State University – 8 miles from home. I enjoy traveling but it is nice speaking near home.

I often take a photo of the room where I will be speaking before anyone arrives and then send the photo to my colleagues and tell them no one showed up to hear me. I had planned on doing that on Monday but the room filled up quickly as the lecture was sold out. I guess people just wanted to learn about the history and evolution of the outhouse (my topic).

I have been invited back to present two lectures in the fall. One lecture is about the Women’s Land Army and the other is about the Camp Meeting Movement. It will be interesting to see if those topics are as popular as outhouses.

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

My Old Kentucky Home

It seems as if the Hilton Garden Inn in Georgetown, KY is my Old Kentucky Home. This past week I returned for the 4th year to speak to the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education TALENTS program. This is a leadership development program for future CTE leaders in Kentucky. It was cold and snowy outside but the participants made it warm inside.


I arrived a day early so I could do some research for a future presentation about the Camp Meeting movement. About 30 miles from Georgetown is the Cane Ridge Meeting House where a great revival occurred in 1801.  Thousands of people came and camped out. This started a trend for churches to have on-site campgrounds – of which a number are still in operation today. This church was built in 1791 and is still standing but a structure has been built over and surrounding the church to preserve it.


Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

Making Music in Nashville

I always enjoy making presentations at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville; especially at Christmas time. They do a tremendous job of decorating as evidenced by this Poinsettia tree. Dr. Wendy Warner and I enjoyed speaking to a very receptive crowd of agriculture teachers about how to make the teaching of FFA history and facts engaging and exciting. We displayed a number of historical FFA artifacts and introduced the audience to a website we created that has numerous teaching resources –

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

60,007 in attendance

There was a record attendance at the 90th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last week.  Another record was the FFA elected the first African-American female to be the national president. The National FFA Convention is exciting. It is like a 30 ring circus with all types of workshops, competitions, and entertainment going on.

One event that occurs during the FFA Convention is the annual meeting of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education (NASAE). It was my pleasure to speak to the NASAE members about “After 100 Years It Is Time for a Change in SAE!” The Snith-Hughes Act of 1917 which provided federal funds to support the teaching of agriculture in public schools required all agricultural students to have “farming projects”. Even though the types of projects students have conducted has changed over the past 100 years, more change is needed.

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

Washington ACTE


I wrapped up the summer speaking tour in Spokane, Washington speaking to the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education. I was in my alter ego – Representative Dudley Hughes of Georgia. The Washington ACTE has their act together and has a quality convention.

After the presentation, I had the opportunity to explore Washington State. I really enjoyed seeing the expansive wheat fields, the fruit growing area, the mountains around Seattle (including Mount Ranier). I also enjoyed a whale watching trip and a flight around Seattle in a float plane.


Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

Searching for the Wizard of Oz


It was an honor to present the keynote address to the North Carolina Agriculture Teachers Association last week in Greensboro. I have been the keynoter at agriculture teacher conferences from Arizona to New York, so it was nice to be invited to speak in my home state. We discussed what the agriculture teachers need to do to become a “Real” Wizard of Oz in their classrooms.

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

Fountain Park Chautauqua – Indiana


There is a good bit of difference between the Chautauqua in Indiana and the one in New York. However, they are both enjoyable. It was a pleasure to speak about the history of the outhouse to the Fountain Park Chautauqua. The name is derived from the landmark fountain located in the park like center of the Chautauqua grounds. However, once you get outside of the park-like setting, you are surrounded by corn and soybean fields.

I traveled on up into Michigan after this engagement to speak to a group of retired agriculture teachers about the Smith-Hughes Act. My presentation was unique in that I spoke from behind a sheet with a backlit spotlight because I was appearing as the ghost of Dudley Hughes.


Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

Purdue PowerPoint Presentation

It felt like old home week at Purdue University this past week. The occasion was the annual meeting of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). This group is comprised of university professors of agriculture who value teaching and want to learn more about being better instructors. I presented a research paper about when is the best time to share the PowerPoint presentation used in teaching with the students. The basic question was should the presentation be shared with the students prior to the class in which the PowerPoint is used or after the class. There are some very strong opinions among students and professors. I don’t claim to have the answer but the audience did learn more about the views of both groups and the issues involved.

I was on the faculty at Purdue between 1976 and 1982 and had a chance to see if the house I built on Moore’s Bay Road still existed.

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment


June 27 marked the 7th consecutive year that I have spoken at Chautauqua. The topic this year was “World War I, Food Production, and Suffrage: The Story of the Woman’s Land Army.” The venue was different this year (the Hall of Philosophy) which does not have facilities for showing slides, so I asked various members of the audience to hold placards (such as we demand the vote) and had them march around at appropriate times during the presentation. The audience seemed to enjoy this activity and I think it made the presentation come alive. I really would have loved to use some slides because there are great images of the Women’s Land Army. The bottom line is that women proved themselves equal to men during WW I by going to work on the farms to produce the food that was needed for the war effort. And shortly after the war, they were given the vote. One can read about the presentation at

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment

New York Agriculture Teachers

I had never been to Camp Oswegatchie in New York State.  It was impressive. There are 1,200 acres and they have horses, mountain bikes, ropes courses and a number of other activities in a beautiful location.   There are 4 lakes on the property and 15 campsites for groups of students. This is a crown jewel among FFA camps (even if they are so remote there is no cell service). I spoke about the Smith-Hughes Act during their awards banquet for the New York Association of Agricultural Educators. The banquet was in the Gettman lodge and was typical of the Adirondack region. I then spent the next 36  hours exploring the Adirondacks. I had never been in this part of New York before and thoroughly enjoyed it. I arrived back home just in time to pack my car and head back to New York, this time to the western edge of the state.

Posted in Presentations | Leave a comment