Simply put, Nick Fuhrman loves teaching! Whether he’s in front of a classroom of UGA freshmen, sharing evaluation techniques with a room full of Extension professionals, or looking into a television camera for the Georgia Farm Monitor TV show, teaching others is what he was put here to do.
Also known as “Ranger Nick” for his passion to integrate animals into his teaching, Nick joined the faculty at UGA in 2008 and is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and Professor of Environmental Education. Originally from Perry Hall, Maryland, Nick worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for seven years before attending graduate school. It was through his work in teaching others using animals with the Maryland DNR that he earned the title “Ranger Nick.” Seeing the way audiences could be visibly inspired after interacting with wildlife (such as turtles, snakes, owls, and hawks) he used in his presentations is what gave him his interest in program evaluation. What difference can we make on one’s knowledge, attitude, and behaviors after using animals to teach them? His research currently focuses on answering that question. After earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry from Virginia Tech, Nick was offered the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. focused in environmental education at the University of Florida. It was there as a teaching assistant that he discovered his passion for classroom teaching and that is what inspired him to become a professor.
Nick has a 35% Extension appointment and provides professional development training in the areas of program evaluation and nonformal teaching methods to Extension professionals statewide. Nick also holds a 50% teaching appointment and teaches courses in environmental education, program development, and statistics. The course for which he is perhaps most known campus-wide is AGED 2001: Teaching with Animals. In this course, Nick’s students learn how to engage an audience using reptiles, amphibians, and birds and the course culminates in a visit from his students to Extra Special People (ESP) in Watkinsville. Several hundred youth with special needs attend ESP and Nick’s students teach those participants using his own collection of animal ambassadors. Nick considers his work with ESP to be one of the most personally and professionally impactful things with which he has ever done.
You can keep up with Nick every month by watching his “Ranger Nick” television segment on the Georgia Farm Monitor or learn more about his teaching philosophy by watching his 2018 TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwTpfVQgkU0
Nick is married to his best friend, Jessica, and they have two children—Miles (4 years old) and Ellis (2 years old). Jess, Miles, and Ellis are three of the biggest reasons why you will rarely see Nick without a smile on his face.