Discovery Southeast taking nominations for second annual teacher award

Discovery Southeast is accepting nominations for teachers who go the extra mile to engage their students in nature.

“We’re a lucky community to have outstanding teachers in Juneau, and many are doing awesome, engaging work with their classrooms outdoors,” Discovery Southeast Director Shawn Eisele said in a press release.

Starting last year, the outdoor education nonprofit awards a teacher the annual Discovery Award. The winner will be honored at the Discovery Southeast Banquet in April and receive free tuition for the organization’s Teacher Expedition to Cross Sound in June.

The continuing education program takes teachers to the Inian Islands, just south of Glacier Bay. The five-day trip is part retreat, part education. It aims to give teachers knowledge and experiences to weave the outdoors into their regular lessons.

“The common theme to everything — the award and the expeditions — is making sure children have a relationship with nature. Kids grow up healthy when they spend time outdoors,” Eisele said.

Auke Bay Elementary School teacher Allie Smith won the Discovery Award last year.

Any community member can nominate an educator through a short, one paragraph email to board@discoverysoutheast.org. The email should state what stood out in the educator’s outdoor or nature-focused work, with an emphasis on the past year. Any educator — not just classroom teachers — is eligible. Nominations are due March 31.

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