To honor teachers who engage students with the outdoors, Five Rivers MetroParks has created the OUTstanding Teacher Award. The first-time award is open to classroom teachers working in the Dayton area who teach any subject from preschool to high school. The award includes three nomination categories:
- Rising Star (less than 10 years)
- Leader (10 to 20 years)
- Lifetime Achievement (more than 20 years)
Awardees will be honored with a plaque at the Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside Summit held Saturday, Feb. 21, at Wegerzyn Garden MetroPark. Winning teachers also will receive a prize package worth $800 containing:
- Plant kit with plants selected for winning teachers’ schools;
- Environmental Education Council of Ohio membership (includes $100 to use toward the 101 Conference held at Camp Kern the first weekend of October; and
- $500 worth of tools for the winners’ schools.
Funded through the James M. Cox Jr. Arboretum Foundation’s Kettering Grant, the award is for teachers providing students with outdoor, environmental experiences that inspire interest in and positive attitudes about nature.
“Teachers in the greater Dayton area recognize the importance of hands-on, nature-based learning,” said Lauren Stayer Asquith, a Five Rivers MetroParks education assistant. “It’s important Five Rivers MetroParks supports and recognizes these educators, as they in turn support our mission to provide outdoor experiences that inspire a personal connection with nature.”
To apply, teachers need to produce a video (less than 5 minutes long) that answers the following:
- Why is it important to connect kids with nature?
- What are the most significant positive impacts the nominee has made?
- How has the nominee gone above and beyond in leading his/her students in environmental experiences?
- How does the nominee inspire others? Why are you nominating this person?
Nominations can be submitted by posting the video to YouTube and filling out an online form by Jan. 19. Information on judging criteria can be found online at metroparks.org/outstanding. Videos do not have to be professionally produced, as the content of the message will be valued more than production quality.