Senior Extension Associate; Senior Lecturer
As a senior lecturer and senior extension associate in Horticulture, I believe that we have a lot to learn from plants: scientific and engineering concepts and principles, certainly, but also lessons about caring, well-being, beauty, and stewardship. I therefore devote nearly all of my professional time to bringing people and plants together, whether the people are students at Cornell, online students around the world, or members of communities from New York to Belize. As passionate as I am about plants and their potential to teach us intellectual and affective lessons, I am equally committed to the how of education because I know that we learn as much from the how as from the what. Whether I am modeling how to observe and describe a leaf in detail or facilitating a student discussion about designing an outdoor sofa made of sod, I do so in ways that manifest dispositions that I believe are key to personal growth and social welfare: reflection, community-mindedness, and experiential participation.
I collaborate with human development researchers and program evaluation specialists to explore youth and adult interactions in garden settings, community and youth development skills and assets gained in garden-based learning, as well as to conduct formative and summative evaluations of our programming efforts.
Outreach and Extension Focus
As the children and youth program leader for Cornell Garden-Based Learning, my primary responsibilities are to provide statewide leadership and coordination of a multidisciplinary garden-based learning extension program for children and youth educators; teach distance courses on several topics; serve as a liaison between Engaged Cornell staff and Cornell Garden-Based Learning; and integrate Extension opportunities into numerous teaching activities. I have authored many educational resources, publications, book chapters, and articles. I collaborate with others, including my Cornell Garden-Based Learning co-leader Lori Brewer, and educator enrichment specialist Fiona Doherty to: plan conferences and workshops to foster educator professional development; strengthen state and national partnerships and the research link to garden-based learning; and engage the voices of diverse participants in the planning, design, implementation, and overall organization of garden programs.
My goal for teaching and learning is to inspire and engage students in the life-long learning process, and to ignite a hunger for continued involvement with the plant world. I am keenly interested in the power of significant learning experiences, and I am passionate about plants and their ability to transform lives, whether in a university classroom, or by way of other avenues, such as the distance learning arena, and public, community-based venues. I aim to use my creativity and energy to inspire students to achieve a sense of personal mastery and collective action through collaboration, becoming exemplary scholars, professionals, and world citizens. After more than 25 years in the garden-based learning arena, I enjoy mentoring students, while learning from their innovative and resourcefulness. Vital to this accomplishment is establishing an environment based on trust, with evident structure, open communication, and mutual respect, in which students can realize their full potential and vision for their course work, as well as for their future.
Awards and Honors
- Graduate of Distinction (2015) Canandaigua Academy
- Excellence in Community Engaged Learning and Assessment, Awarded to HORT 3200: Experiential Garden-Based Learning in Belize (2013) Cornell Engaged Learning + Research
- Signs of Sustainability Award for Youth Grow, youth leadership project (2011) Sustainable Tompkins
- Eames-Sheavly, M., & Mark Miller, (2008). Recommendations for Engaging Undergraduate Students in Community-Based Extension Field Experiences. Journal of Extension. 46:Article 6TOT1.
- Eames-Sheavly, M., Lekies, K. S., MacDonald, L., & Wong, K. J. (2007). Greener voices: an exploration of adult perceptions of participation of children and youth in gardening planning, design, and implementation. HortTechnology. 17:247-253.
- Eames-Sheavly, M. (2007). The Art of Horticulture: Student-Focused College Course Melds Science, Aesthetics, Plants, and Critical Reflection. Journal of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. 39:7-13.
Presentations and Activities
- The role of student emotions and well being in learning. CALS Teaching Experience. June 2017. College of Ag and Life Sciences. ILR Conference Center, Cornell.
- Relevant and Real: Three Unique Approaches to Student Assessment. CALS Teaching Workshop. June 2016. Cornell University. ILR Conference Center.
- A Semester Long Course with a Spring Break Travel Component: Lessons Learned, Elements That Work. Cornell Faculty Institute on Community Engaged Learning and Teaching. May 2016. CTE and EL+R. ILR Conference Center, Cornell.
- o Strategies for reflective integration of academic and community-based learning. August Institute for Engaged Cornell Curriculum Grants. August 2015. Engaged Cornell. G10 Biotech.
- o Strategies for reflective integration of academic and community-based learning. August Institute for Engaged Cornell Curriculum Grants. August 2015. Engaged Cornell. Clark Hall.
- Resilience and Connectedness in Teaching. Meeting of the Cornell Council on Mental Health and Welfare . April 2014. Gannett Health Services. Anabel Taylor Hall.
- Reflection and Critical Thinking Workshop. Off Campus Trip Leader Workshop Series. April 2014. Engaged Learning + Research. Uris Hall.
- Action & Reflection: Cornerstones of a Garden-Based Teaching & Extension Pedagogy. Horticulture Department Seminar. March 2014. Department of Horticulture, Cornell University. 404 Plant Science Bldg.
- Nice Isn't Enough: How to Strengthen your Power Base. National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium. July 2013. American Horticultural Society. Denver, CO.
- Lessons Learned from Experiential Garden-Based Learning in Belize. CALS Engaging Internationally: The Undergraduate Experience. December 2012. Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Weill Hall.