YAKIMA, Wash. — Jeff Charbonneau, national teacher of the year, is the luncheon speaker for the 71st annual Cherry Institute of Northwest Cherry Growers at the Yakima Convention Center, Jan. 10.
Charbonneau is a science teacher at Zillah High School 22 miles from Yakima. He was honored by President Obama at the White House last April for reinvigorating science and engineering at the school, starting an outdoor club and helping with other programs including drama.
“We reached out to him before he was teacher of the year. A couple of our growers thought he would be great because he developed a robotics class and was looking at robotics for growers right here in the middle of cherry country,” said B.J. Thurlby, president of Northwest Cherry Growers.
The promotional organization represents 2,500 cherry growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah. The Institute is its main annual meeting usually attended by about 500 growers. For the first time, the meeting counts for two credits toward grower pesticide applicator recertification from the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The meeting includes presentations on Little Cherry disease, powdery mildew, the brown marmorated stink bug and spotted wing drosophila. There’s an update on honey bee colony collapse, a review of the past season, discussion of marketing and a talk on cherry production in Europe.
Pre-registration by Dec. 30, with Kathy Keeth at (509) 853-3504, is $30 for the meeting and lunch, $15 for the meeting only or $20 for the lunch only. Prices are $5 more at the door.