Georgia DNR Seeks Applications for Conservation Teacher of the Year

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is offering a $1,000 grant to a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade public or private school teacher in the state who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences.

Science specialists covering those grade levels can also apply for the Conservation Teacher of the Year grant, according to the Nongame Conservation Section, part of DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division.

Sept. 19 is the deadline to apply for the grant, which DNR officials say will be awarded in October. The grant is coordinated by the Nongame Conservation Section and made possible through support from The Environmental Resource Network, or TERN, friends group of the section.

The purpose of the grant is to recognize and help an outstanding teacher who uses Georgia’s nongame wildlife as the context for learning, according to Linda May, DNR environmental outreach coordinator. Nongame refers to native animals that are not fished for or hunted, and to rare native plants. Gopher tortoises and purple pitcherplants are examples.

“Students love learning outdoors,” May said. “Through their natural curiosity, children develop a fondness for wildlife and the places they call home. Ultimately, this awareness and appreciation prompt them to become good environmental stewards – and then our natural resources benefit, too.”

Previous grant recipients guided student learning through outdoor classrooms. This year’s winning teacher also will be selected to receive funding based on project design, which will be evaluated through grant proposal questions. Projects that are especially creative and teach about Georgia’s rare or endangered species, as well as those that have no other means of funding, will earn bonus points.