The following was reprinted from the Fall 2009 Newsletter of the Enviromental Educators of North Carolina. Thanks to the EENC Board for reprint permission, and CONGRATULATIONS PAT!
Every year, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) awards the Richard C. Bartlett Environmental Education Award to an outstanding educator who has successfully integrated environmental education into his or her daily education programs. The award is given to an educator who can serve as an inspiration and model for others. The Richard C. Bartlett Award honors teachers that are bringing environmental education into the curriculum and the community, not just teaching about environmental challenges but also engaging students in the solution. We are honored to announce that EENC Board Member, Pat Curley, was one of only two teachers nationally who received a certificate of merit. The following is the text from NEEF’s announcement:
While a teacher at the Onslow County Learning Center, a school for at-risk youth in North Carolina, Bartlett Certificate of Merit recipient Patrick Curley integrated environmental education into every aspect of his teaching. In response to his students’ diverse academic and social needs, Curley took an innovative approach tohis science instruction, often leading his students on “citizen science” expeditions into the 66-acres ofl ongleaf pine forest surrounding the school to monitor the local creek and record bird breeding activity. Students have taken what they have learned inthe classroom and created positive change in the community—including building a nature trail forthe Isaac Walton League, propagating native plants for donation to the Coastal Federation, and building and maintaining an oyster shell recycling facility that will help to rejuvenate oyster populations. During the 2008-2009 schoolyear, Mr. Curley served as a “teacher-coach” for the Onslow CountySchool District, helping his fellow teachers to use the world aroundthem as a framework for integratingthe curriculum. Mr. Curley directed students and teachers to the many resources that are available through private and public agencies in orderto support and enhance instruction of environmental issues. Curley’sstudents, many of whom were once afraid of nature, now take the lead on teaching other students aboutthe natural world, and many OCLC students who were once at-risk of academic failure and had a history of disruptive behavior have developed feelingsof accomplishment in Curley’s classroom. Students have performed well on state assessments, have fewer behavioral referrals, and in many cases have returned to a traditional school environment.