Sandra Vander Veldon, the newest WAEE Board member, is a founding teacher at the Fox River Academy, in the Appleton School District. And she recently won the EPA’s Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. This award recognizes “outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students”. http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward/
“Each week, in partnership with a field biologist, Sandra leads students in local land restoration projects that complement rigorous inquiry learning projects conducted in the classroom. Sandra uses these projects to guide students in the application of academic skills to make positive changes to their environment. Sandra also serves as the coordinator for several annual school-wide and community events, such as a rain barrel demonstration project, storm drain stenciling and stream monitoring,” states the award website.
The award website give a complete list of the EPA Region award winners and a brief story about their contributions. The projects, number of students reached and impact of what all of these educators are doing is just incredible.
Among the Honorable Mentions for this year’s award was another long time WAEE member, Pat Arndt. Pat is an environmental science teacher in the Berlin School District.
“Pat transformed the school’s lawn into the Native Roots Education Gardens, which contains a wetland, native prairie, native tree arboretum, flower beds and organic vegetable garden boxes. The gardens serve as an experiential learning site for all grade levels and diverse subject areas. He also helped convert one of the Berlin School District’s forests that was underutilized and overrun by invasive species into the Vertical Ventures high and low ropes course. Pat includes a field component in each of his lesson units such as teaching students how to identify waterfowl, amphibians and reptiles; conducting forest inventories; and performing water quality assessments of local water bodies.” http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward/honorable.html
WAEE is proud to have two members receiving this amazing recognition for the hard work in their school district. Congratulations to Sandra Vander Veldon Pat Arndt!!