Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10, 2019, with National Teacher Day on May 7. Every year, Project Learning Tree (PLT) recognizes the educators who have made the most significant contributions to PLT with the Leadership in Education award.
PLT is an award-winning environmental education program designed to help teachers and other educators teach young people about the importance of forests to our health and quality of life. It emphasizes forests as a renewable resource, when sustainably managed, that provides fresh water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities.
PLT is central to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) commitment to education programs that expand the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to sustain forests and the environment. SFI is an independent non-profit organization that is a leader in sustainable forestry through its work across standards, conservation, education and community.This year’s PLT Leadership in Education award recipients are a natural resource professional and a classroom teacher who have taken very different paths to engage the next generation.
Ed Lewis, Natural Resource Professional in Alabama
Ed Lewis is a procurement forester for Westrock, one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies. In his role, Ed is responsible for sourcing wood from sustainably managed forests in southeast Alabama, Florida, and Georgia to supply Westrock facilities with the raw materials needed for producing paper, cardboard, and other packaging.
Throughout Ed’s 40-year career, he has used the PLT curriculum to teach others about sustainable forestry in a variety of settings:
- Professional development workshops for teachers, including in-depth, multi-day forest and mill tours
- Elementary school events
- Logger training sessions
- Gardening programs
- Museum exhibitions
Kirsten Brazier, Classroom Teacher in Florida
Kirsten Brazier is a first-grade teacher at Crawfordville Elementary School, a Title 1 school where more than 40% of the students are economically disadvantaged. Kirsten also serves as the school’s PLT coordinator, reaching across all grades with:
- PLT training for new teachers
- Support for teachers in using PLT curriculum
- Annual PLT Week, during which all grades participate in activities that raise community awareness of local environmental issues such as hurricane damage
- A school-wide recycling program, which collected 566 pounds of total recycled materials in 2018, and school participation in the Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl
- A gardening program through which students grow vegetables and herbs and observe butterfly development
Recognize a Teacher in Your Community
Did you know that teachers in the United States work an average of more than 52 hours a week? When families engage and partner with teachers, students attend school more regularly, earn better grades, are more likely to graduate, and are more likely to pursue higher education.
Consider taking a moment during Teacher Appreciation Week to recognize a teacher on social media with the #ThankATeacher hashtag. You can also wear red on May 8 to show your support and share online with the #REDforED hashtag.
To learn more about how you can participate in PLT, visit www.plt.org.