Thomas County Middle School teachers Melissa Artz and Stacie Dunn have been selected to participate in the National Sustainability Teacher’s Academy at Arizona State University in June. The prestigious program will equip them with the knowledge and tools needed to inspire and educate their students about sustainability issues.
Pertaining to environmental science, the definition of sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Artz and Dunn will participate in a weeklong, hands-on professional development where they will work directly with sustainability scientists and education experts, as well as community sustainability leaders.
“I feel honored to be a part of this program,” Dunn said. “Sustainability needs to be a priority for our Earth as our resources are constantly being deleted.”
Within a year of the workshop, Artz and Dunn will complete a school-wide sustainability project at Thomas County Middle School, implement a sustainability lesson in their classrooms and train additional teachers in sustainability education. The workshop will provide tools and support that will assist them in the development of action plans and community-based activities.
“I’m thrilled to be chosen for this opportunity to share our knowledge with others around the nation and when we to return to Thomas County,” Artz said. “As a science teacher, I have always been intrigued by the Earth, natural resources, sustainability and more. My mother was a teacher, and she began a recycling program at an elementary school that lasted nearly 20 years. We recycled at our house and I started a similar program my junior year in high school. I thought that a program like this would help our school, community, and state to show how we can help sustain the Earth's resources and improve our environment.”
Each teacher will receive a $1,000 stipend for participating in the workshop in addition to lodging and travel allowances that are paid for by the Academy.
Artz added, “At the school level, we will be implementing a sustainability project once we return for the 2017-2018 school year. This may be in our classroom, team, or school level depending on the project we decide to implement. I would love to have a professional learning group to show what we've learned and how we can continue to better the Earth.”
As part of their vision for the future, Artz and Dunn hope that lessons in sustainability will be taught by every teacher regardless of the subject.