The Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI) of Northern Arizona recognized four teachers with a “Teacher Award for Sustainable Curriculum” and no-strings-attached checks for $2,500 at an awards ceremony on May 1 at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff.
- Joy Bergeron of DeMiguel Elementary School (2nd Grade)
- Kristie Leann Kay of Knoles Elementary School (4th Grade)
- Josh Armstrong of Alpine Leadership Academy (7th Grade)
- Jeffrey Taylor of Flagstaff High School (10th-12th Grades)
The awards are granted to teachers for the development and implementation of lessons, units, or projects that reflect and reinforce the three principles of sustainability: social equity, economic prosperity, and ecological health.
DeMiguel Elementary School
Joy's 2nd grade class determined that lunchtime produces the largest amount of trash during the day (foam trays, milk cartons that cannot be recycled, etc.) and the students are teaching mini-lessons to all classes about what should be recycled at lunch and how the whole school can participate in this effort. The students wrote persuasive letters to school board members and leaders throughout the state to try to bring about some more sustainable and economically responsible options for school cafeterias. The class also learned about repurposing and recycling and is making sturdy little jump ropes out of plastic grocery bags that are available for classes to use at recess.
Kristie Leann Kay
Knoles Elementary School
Kristie's 4th grade class learned that water is a precious resource that must be used and managed carefully. Her students discussed water sources and water conservation concepts, conducted a home and school water audit, and compared and contrasted results with and without the implementation of water conservation practices. The students developed posters depicting the amount of water available for humans and non-ocean wildlife, suggested ways their schoolmates and community members can conserve water in their everyday lives, formulated strategies for conserving water, and suggested ways that their schoolmates and community members can conserve water in their everyday lives.
Alpine Leadership Academy
Josh's 7th grade class studied the Human Impact Challenge in which they investigated a natural resource that they use on a daily basis, evaluated how their use of those resources effects the environment, and developed sustainability plans for addressing these issues. Students then documented their reduced usage of the resource and analyzed the data from before and after the sustainability plan. With this data, students created a presentation to show the results of their efforts. Example projects included the use of plastics, energy levels of meat production, usage of water in the household, and compost systems for dog waste. They also investigated water issues on the Colorado Plateau, use of fossil fuels along with the effects of burning fossil fuels, and the effects of biodiversity within ecosystems.
Flagstaff High School
Jeffrey's 10th-12th grade students studied Sustainable Forestry Practices and Restoration of Historic Fire Regimes in Northern Arizona. The goal of the project was to get students to critically evaluate the ecological, economic, and societal benefits and consequences of our past and current land management practices. Students were randomly assigned stakeholder groups and then developed a comprehensive land management plan for the hypothetical forest reserve designated to be somewhere in Northern Arizona. Students began by developing their own management plans based on the interests of the stakeholders they represented. Then, they begin seeking other stakeholder groups where they may find areas of overlap to begin merging plans. Ultimately, the final approved management plan was published and displayed in the hallway of Flagstaff High School.
SEDI is proud to offer such an important program that encourages and recognizes the development and implementation of innovative, multidisciplinary educational approaches that instill in students the importance, value and practicality of sustainability. It is essential to preparing the leaders of tomorrow.