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The Teacher: No Need to Bring This Teacher an Apple – He's Got a Whole Seed Bank in Waldoboro

'Our seeds have basically gone all over the world,' says Neil Lash, who earns the Source Award for Teacher.

Sometime around 1990, Waldoboro school teacher Neil Lash was watching the PBS program “The Victory Garden” when Kent Whealy appeared on the screen. Whealy had co-founded Seed Savers Exchange, one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States and as he talked about the work they done with heirloom seeds, including some that had been brought to the United States on the Mayflower, Lash was struck by an inspiration.

At Medomak Valley High School, the science department had just merged with the horticulture program. Lash and Jon Thurston, then the department chair, were in charge of melding the two. They’d already been teaching their students about the frightening loss of biodiversity in the changing world.

“Instead of just talking about it,” Lash remembers, “we said, ‘Let’s do something about it.’ ”