Florida PLT Awards

Each year Florida Project Learning Tree (FL PLT) recognizes a partner, facilitator, and educator who have made exceptional contributions to the program.

Congratulations Robin Will, 2018 National PLT Leadership in Education Award winner!


Robin Will, supervisory ranger at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in St. Marks, was awarded Project Learning Tree’s Leadership in Education Award. Will coordinates the PLT Schools program in Wakulla County, in which all public preschools and elementary schools involve their students in hands-on environmental education. She has been a Florida PLT leader since 1989, helping form its initial steering committee and serving in many other roles since then. She has facilitated more than 130 workshops for educators, who then teach environmental education to students of all ages. She has also mentored countless facilitators who go on to conduct their own workshops. Will was honored at PLT’s 32nd International Coordinators’ Conference, June 4-7, in Cody, Wyoming. “Environmental education helps students understand the role the environment plays in their daily lives,” said Esther Cowles, senior director of Project Learning Tree at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, in announcing the awards. “Robin shows how Project Learning Tree is equipping children and adults with knowledge and skills to meet 21st century needs.” The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI) is a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. PLT is an initiative of SFI. Through PLT and other initiatives, SFI supports getting youth outdoors and into nature in ways that inspire them to become environmental stewards and future forest leaders, and to introduce them to green careers. “Robin demonstrates in so many ways how the outdoors can be used as a powerful learning tool for schools, teachers, and students of all ages,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. “SFI is proud to recognize Robin for her effective leadership that’s spanned nearly three decades and helped make PLT such a robust program in Florida.”

Congratulations to our 2018 Florida PLT Award Recipients!

Phillip Allen, Kirsten Brazier, and Susan Flak who were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Florida PLT program at the 2018 PLT Annual Professional Development Conference Award Dinner on Nov. 3rd at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Thank you for all of your support!

From left: Robert Raze, Vice-Chair, FL PLT Steering Committee; Sue Flak, FL PLT 2018 Facilitator of the Year; Kirsten Brazier, FL PLT 2018 Educator of the Year; Elise Cassie, 2018 Bill Kleinhans Spirit of FL PLT Award recipient; Kim Sartor, accepting the award for Phillip Allen, FL PLT 2018 Partner of the Year; and Robin Will, Chair, FL PLT Steering Committee.

Sue Flak, 2018 Florida PLT Facilitator of the Year

Sue Flak has been an elementary educator for 23 years and has taught all grades from kindergarten through 5th. After attending a PLT educator training, Sue became a facilitator and opened her own environmental school in South Carolina. When she moved to Florida and began teaching at Pelican Island Elementary, she brought PLT with her and trained nearly all of the teachers at the school. Sue’s dedication to FL PLT and the field of environmental education is truly commendable. She uses her extensive experience in environmental education to teach children to become productive environmental stewards both on campus and within the community. During her time as a teacher at Pelican Island Elementary, Sue conducted at least one PLT workshop each year and led the Green Team at the school which received the 2018 Keep Indian River Beautiful Environmental Stewardship Award. Sue recently accepted a new position as the Recycling Education and Marketing Coordinator for Indian River County; in this role, she looks forward to training formal and non-formal educators throughout Indian River County. “PLT is infused in my personal mission and vision and is a vital part of the vision and mission of our school. I believe it has a huge impact on the global education of our children today.”

Kirsten Brazier, Florida PLT 2018 Educator of the Year

Kirsten Brazier started teaching at Crawfordville Elementary School in 2009 and became the PLT School Coordinator in 2010. In her role as the PLT School Coordinator, she leads a committee of teachers from each grade level, encourages new faculty to attend trainings to receive PLT certification, and offers support to ensure PLT lessons are taught in the classrooms. She also arranges for guests to visit the campus each year for a week full of PLT activities. She creates a PLT Committee each year, with one teacher from each grade. She develops a theme for the school’s PLT Week. "Teachers enjoy PLT week because it gives them a break from required subjects yet provides easy integration of activities to all subjects.”

Phillip Allen, Florida PLT 2018 Partner of the Year

Phillip Allen is committed to educating youth; a commitment stemming from his mother’s 25 year teaching career in Georgia, who inspired him to recognize the importance of education, including environmental education. Mr. Allen is a forester by education and training, with PLT a perfect marriage of forestry and education. He believes that proper education for our teachers and students about the many benefits that our forests provide is critical - clean water & air, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, and sustainable renewable forest products. Mr. Allen has been working with Rayonier Inc. for 18 years, and is currently the Sr. Timber Marketing Manager. Mr. Allen has made a personal commitment to FL PLT, through consistent and generous support, recognizing the value of FL PLT. Mr. Allen’s generous support since 2014 has enabled approximately 200 educators to received professional development training in a variety of PLT curricula: Prek-8 Environmental Education, Environmental Experiences in Early Childhood, Biotechnology, Biodiversity, Energy and Society, Energy in Ecosystems, and Focus on Forests.

Click here for a press release on the 2018 awards.

Past Recipients

Meet past recipients of PLT awards

Return to top