Kathy Henley a 5th-grade teacher at Accawmacke Elementary School is this year’s recipient of the Conservation Educator Award. Kathy has been teaching for several years and came to the job naturally as she came from a family of teachers. In her interview, she stated “As a student I always helped classmates with math and other subjects so the love of teaching was always in me. When my students get excited about learning and the light bulb goes off, it inspires me to continue in my career path.”
She has been active in many of the hands-on professional development opportunities that there are on the shore for environmental education. She has attended “Teacher Camp” through the Nature Conservancy which is a five-day program where teachers explore many aspects of the natural environment of the Eastern Shore. She was also a participant in the Research Experience for Teachers at the UVA CRC in Oyster this past summer.
When asked about the importance of environmental education, Kathy replied “We only have one Earth. If we don’t take care of it, there won’t be an earth left for future generations. We have to instill the love of our world in our students so they will want to protect it. This love and respect is encouraged with hands-on exploration and involvement in nature. Children can fall in love with nature in many different ways. It is important to get our children out in nature and build their love and respect for our beautiful Eastern Shore.