Beatrice Long, Seabrook Intermediate School teacher, named 2009 National Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator

Washington, D.C. – Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation, has announced that Beatrice Long, a Houston resident who teaches at Seabrook Intermediate School, was named one of five 2009 National PLT Outstanding Educators.

PLT’s Outstanding Educators are selected for their commitment to environmental education, their exemplary use of PLT and their exceptional teaching skills. In addition, Long also was named the 2009 recipient of the Barbara Pitman award, presented to a teacher whose environmental education efforts focus on integrating reading connections and advancing student literacy. Long and the other Outstanding Educators will be honored at PLT’s 23rd International Coordinators’ Conference, May 4-7, 2009, in Indianapolis.

Long teaches eighth grade science at Seabrook Intermediate School. Last year, Long’s eighth graders achieved a 93 percent passing rate on the Texas Assesment of Knowledge and Skills test (TAKS) and the school received an exemplary score. She and her colleagues attribute this success to their training in and use of Project Learning Tree curriculum resources in their classroom lessons.   

Long’s classroom is known as an environmental showcase, as it is filled with posters, books and a multitude of resources she uses daily. As one teacher noted, “If you are lucky, you will go into her classroom and you will see a chrysalis waiting to hatch, or the release of a butterfly.” Her philosophy is to bring students outside, but when that is not possible, she brings the outdoors inside the classroom and makes it come alive for her students.

Long is also part of the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where she serves as a science teacher mentor, cadre member and instructional team leader. She utilizes as well as teaches within a School Habitat Demonstration Lab that was funded in part by a PLT GreenWorks! grant. She has volunteered countless hours planting and maintaining the habitat and shows colleagues how to use the lab as a teaching tool. As an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, she teaches a Science Methods class to pre-service teachers, presenting ways to incorporate PLT and other environmental education activities into teaching. These new teachers leave the course with PLT’s Energy & Society curriculum, as well as the knowledge and comfort to use it.

“Bea demonstrates the qualities of an outstanding environmental educator,” said Brenda Weiser, director of environmental education at the Environmental Institute of Houston. “She is the type of facilitator that leads participants to awareness, provides opportunities to gain knowledge, explores different viewpoints, and encourages participants to design action projects.”

“Beatrice Long exemplifies how a great teacher can inspire students and other educators,” said Kathy McGlauflin, director of Project Learning Tree and senior vice president of education for the American Forest Foundation. “PLT is known for quality environmental education because teachers like her use PLT in classrooms and outdoors to help students learn about the world around them, their place within it, and their responsibility for it.”

Project Learning Tree ® (PLT) is the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation. PLT provides educators with comprehensive environmental education curriculum resources that can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas. PLT teaches students “how to think, not what to think” about complex environmental issues and helps students learn the skills they need to make sound choices about the environment.

Developed in 1976, PLT has an international network of more than 500,000 trained educators using PLT materials that cover the total environment. The American Forest Foundation, a nonprofit conservation and education organization, works for healthy forests, quality environmental education and informed decision-making about our communities and our world. The Texas Forestry Association and Texas Forest Service cosponsor PLT in Texas.

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