Project Learning Tree applauds all educators, facilitators, and partners whose efforts make our program successful. Each year we recognize two individuals and one organization for their outstanding contribution to the program. Starting in 2011, certificates of appreciation were also awarded for outstanding service to PLT.
Congratulations to our 2016 Florida PLT Award Recipients!
Bear Creek Educational Forest, Lori Nicholson, and Kay Henry were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Florida PLT program at the 2016 PLT Annual Professional Development Conference Award Dinner on Nov. 5th, 2016 at the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County.
Thank you for all of your support!
Lori Nicholson: 2016 Florida PLT Facilitator of the Year
Lori Nicholson’s continued commitment to Florida PLT and the field of environmental education is truly commendable. Over the years, Lori have proven to be a key volunteer within the program by teaching PLT activities annually to about 12,000 youth.
Lori has developed partnerships with all of the schools in Wakulla County, Florida, and has trained educators and students at all four elementary schools, qualify them as “Florida Project Learning Tree Schools.” This represents the only county in Florida that has all of the elementary schools certified in this national environmental education curriculum. She has also held trainings to certify Wakulla’s Pre-K school as the first Florida Pre-K Project Learning Tree School. This is a significant contribution to Florida PLT.
Currently, Lori is the environmental education specialist at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, where Lori and her team of volunteers provide free EE programing for up to 16,000 participants each year. Lori is passionate about connecting people to the environment as caring stewards, and as a result delivers consistent quality environmental education programs.
Kay Henry: Florida PLT 2016 Educator of the Year
Kay Henry is an educator with more than 30 years of teaching experience. She currently teaches kindergarten at Lakeland Christian School (LCS), where she captures her “little bears” imaginations through hand-on learning projects that reinforce a love of reading and care for the environment. Fred Wiechmann, former principal and current science resource teacher, nominated Kay for the award. He introduced Kay to Project Learning Tree when she began teaching at LCS 16 years ago. According to Fred, Kay is one of the finest early childhood educators he has ever worked with. She has taught a generation of youngsters PLT principles, facilitating workshops throughout Florida and in South Carolina.
“When she came to LCS she quickly embraced PLT and other environmental education curricula, masterfully adapting these activities for her students." She was trained as a PLT facilitator and assisted with many workshops, working with early childhood teachers, demonstrating and modeling her adaptations to the “Prek-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide”, before PLT developed the “Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood Guide”. Kay integrates many PLT activities through the year, and has a focus on the FL Black Bear during the school’s annual Creation Care Week.
Bear Creek Educational Forest: 2016 Partner of the Year
Bear Creek Educational Forest (BCEF) serves as the Florida Forest Service’s premier “Outdoor Classroom” in North Florida. Located in Gadsden County, it occupies 500 acres on the Lake Talquin State Forest. The facility has been a PLT Environmental Educational Center since 2005 and has incorporated PLT activities as its base curriculum for introducing/enlightening more than 22,000 K–12 school children to the unique forest ecosystems of Northwest Florida.
Tom was introduced to PLT as an officer in the Georgia Society of American Foresters in the mid-1980s, then re-introduced to PLT through his involvement with the Florida Forest Service’s Withlacoochee Environmental Summer Camps. This experience made him uniquely qualified for taking over the direction of Bear Creek Educational Forest when it opened in 2012, where he has utilized PLT activities helping to make connections for youth to the environment.