|Melanie Blas (center) with the Shark Defenders and her students from Simon Sanchez High School at an event to raise awareness for shark conservation.|
Projects in Blas’ classrooms include having a classroom garden, planting native trees with various state and local agencies while learning about erosion and protecting the coral reefs, teaching younger elementary school students about protecting the environment, and writing to their local senators and representatives about ongoing local issues.
The 17 teachers and 60 students awarded nationwide, demonstrate the creativity, innovation, leadership and passion for community engagement needed to face difficult environmental challenges. Teachers and students attending the ceremony will also be participating in a workshop led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss climate and best practices in the field of climate education.
“Through their enthusiasm and commitment, these students and educators are inspiring current and future environmental stewards,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We are pleased to honor their work that helps communities and protects the environment.”
Teachers who were received the PIAEE award will also receive $2,500 to further their professional training. In addition, each recipient's school will receive an additional $2,500 to support environmental education programs. This year’s Regional PIAEE winners are: