As a child growing up in Berkeley during the '60s, educator Patricia Donald loved reading National Geographic and Time magazines, where she says she learned about the pollution of the earth and its oceans, and the human-caused disruption of the balance of nature.
"There was a lot of scary stuff going on in those days," said Donald. "It just felt really important to try to empower people to understand the space and the habitat they lived in, to help protect it instead of fighting against it all the time. Luckily, I had a lot of people who helped me believe in my dream."
And what a successful venture her dream has become in Berkeley, California.
Starting out while still teaching science at a local elementary school back in 1980, she put together the Shorebird Park Nature Center with funding from the city to help create a place where kids and their parents can come to learn more about the local wildlife, and how interdependent we all are on each other.
Today, the center offers hands-on environmental education programs for kids, along with teacher in-service training workshops and classes in green home building for adults.
As for the work itself, Donald points out that "The thing that I like best about the program is the interaction with people, and the wealth of information that people bring when they join our program. I love the 'aha' that I'm able to bring out in people. It changes their lives. To be able to find the magic words that make the connections for people so that they can make the world a better place is pretty cool."
Recently, she was recognized locally with a Jefferson Award for her work to make her community and our world a better place. And we can’t think of a more deserving educator to win such an award.
Via: SF Gate
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