Haywood Community College was recently awarded three BioNetwork grants from the North Carolina Community College System. The grants total over $156,000. One grant will be used to create biotechnology videos and micropropagation demonstrations for enhancement of BioNetwork’s training and workforce development mission. Another grant will be used to develop medicinal plant and ethnobotany learning opportunities via curriculum continuing education as well as demonstration opportunities. The third grant will form a North Carolina Community College Forest Biotechnology Teaching Consortium which will involve three of the four community colleges that teach forestry in the state.

Through the creation of biotechnology videos and micropropagation demonstrations, HCC’s Film and Video Technology program will work collaboratively with biotechnology and horticulture students and faculty to create video presentations of biotechnology laboratory experiments and procedures. Through a partnership with the Digital Effects and Animation Technology at Western Piedmont Community College, these video presentations will be enhanced with animated simulations of the processes that are occurring at the microscopic and molecular levels during the procedure. 

The goal is to supply North Carolina biotechnology instructors with curricular aids that will help their students comprehend and retain basic knowledge and skills essential to a career in biotechnology. The videos will be delivered on a DVD to all North Carolina community colleges and public school districts through the mail.

The DVDs will include DNA Fingerprinting, DNA Sequencing, Sterile Technique, Enzyme Purification by Chromatography, and Tissue Culture. HCC has been awarded two separate grants in the past through the BioNetwork to produce a total of eight other videos.

Through a second grant, HCC’s Forestry Program along with the forestry programs at Wayne Community College and Southeastern Community College would create a Community College Forest Biotechnology Teaching Consortium. The project will provide Forestry Instructors in the state's two-year Forest Management Technology programs the opportunity to receive professional development, practical orientation, and awareness of statewide forest biotechnology efforts and develop and integrate course resources related to forestry biotechnology into appropriate curriculum classes.

As biotechnology and forestry continue their interface in North Carolina, forestry students will require formal background training in the concepts, practices, and issues related to forest biotechnology.

The objectives of the consortium are to develop a seminar series on forest biotechnology, create professional development opportunities for forest management technology faculty in the area of forest biotechnology, develop learning modules and teaching resources for traditional and/or online class instruction, and collaborate with ongoing biotechnology initiatives within the BioNetwork.

Through the third grant, HCC will develop two continuing education courses entitled Introduction to Medicinal Herbs and Native Medicinal Herbs of North Carolina. These courses will be delivered through distance learning and will be complimented with hands-on workshops.

In addition, a curriculum course entitled Ethnobotany of Western North Carolina will be developed for the North Carolina Community College System and be submitted for review towards addition to the common course library under the Horticulture curriculum. This course will focus on the medicinal use of native plants in Western North Carolina.

Planning for a wild-simulated native medicinal plant demonstration at the HCC Teaching Forest will be conducted with multiple academic, government, and industry partners. Wild simulation may be a way for growers in North Carolina to produce valuable native medicinal plants and provide annual income between the long rotations of timber harvest in the forestry industry.