Boston Teacher in SED’s “Nature and Me” Program Receives Green Educator Award

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Green awards recipient Karen Wood, teacher at Oliver Wendell Holmes School in Dorchester with Professor Douglas Zook, founder and co-director of Nature and Me: Explorations in Ecology at Massachusetts State House ceremony.

Fifth grade teacher Karen Wood of the Oliver Wendell Holmes School in Dorchester, a participant in the unique Nature and Me: Explorations in Ecology program based at Boston University School of Education, received an Outstanding Green Educators award from the national Green Schools Program in collaboration with the Massachusetts Environmental Literacy Project. The award was given as part of the 2014 Green Difference Awards which honor leadership in environmental education.

A successful part of the Global Ecology Education Initiative (GEEI), headed by biologist and science educator Professor Douglas Zook, Nature and Me allows children from schools in relatively low-income districts within Boston, Chelsea, Cambridge and Somerville to have quality, ongoing experiences in nature settings. Established through a generous series of grants from Henry Meyer, Jr., the program was developed by Zook and his former students Jennifer Reese and Lia Stelljes, who are now accomplished science teachers. According to Professor Zook, award winner Karen Wood has been an enthusiastic leader in implementing the Nature and Me curriculum each year.

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Karen Wood, (second from right) receives the award from Green Schools, Inc. representatives and Massachusetts State Representative F. Jay Barrows

This award highlights the great efforts in sustainability education happening at Boston University and within the Greater Boston community. Four BU students – undergraduates Annie Lissandrello, Olivia Hathaway, Alivia Ashenfarb, and graduate student Aymee Suarez – participated in the Nature and Me program during AY2013/14. As part of the Student Support Team they made periodic visits to help teachers like Karen implement the curriculum in the classroom and in the children’s visits to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain.

The Green Difference Awards are presented annually by the Green Schools Program, a national program which advocates and recognizes sustainability-thinking and green education programs in K-12 schools nationwide. Wood was one of several recipients from New England who were recognized at a Massachusetts State House Ceremony in May; other recipients hailed from Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, and the Bronx. The inspiring event brought together many classroom and school leaders from around the country.

Karen Wood (right) with Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School Principal  Yeshi Gaskin

Karen Wood (right) with Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School Principal
Yeshi Gaskin

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