North Point teacher re­ceives en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion award

White House cer­e­mony hon­ored 11 teach­ers from across na­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­

A North Point High School en­vi­ron­men­tal science teacher was re­cently hon­ored at the White House with a na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion award.

Lolita Kior­pes, a bi­ol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal sciences teacher at North Point High School, was one of 11 teach­ers na­tion­wide to be se­lected to re­ceive the Pres­i­den­tial In­no­va­tion Award for En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tors, or PIAEE.

“It is quite an honor to be cho­sen, and to get to talk with like-minded peo­ple from around the coun­try get­ting the award and to see what they’ve done and how they’re work­ing to get stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers en­vi­ron­men­tally aware,” Kior­pes said.

The awards were pre­sented Aug. 16 dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the White House.

The award rec­og­nizes out­stand­ing kin­der­garten through 12th grade teach­ers who em­ploy in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion and use the en­vi­ron­ment as a con­text for learn­ing, ac­cord­ing to the EPA web­site.

Kior­pes was one of two teach­ers se­lected for EPA Re­gion 3, which in­cludes Mary­land, Penn-

sylvania, Vir­ginia, West Vir­ginia and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The award is pre­sented by the White House Coun­cil on En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity, in part­ner­ship with the EPA, to honor, sup­port and en­cour­age ed­u­ca­tors who in­cor­po­rate the en­vi­ron­ment into their class­rooms and teach­ing.

Kior­pes, a res­i­dent of Port Repub­lic, said she also took part in a round­table dis­cus­sion on en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion with mem­bers of the EPA and the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NOAA).

Each in­struc­tor re­ceived an award plaque, a con­grat­u­la­tory award from a se­nior EPA of­fi­cial and/or the White House and an award of up to $2,500 to be used for pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment in en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion.

The re­cip­i­ent’s school also re­ceives an award of up to $2,500 to fund en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grams.

Kior­pes said she would like to use the money to get more equip­ment for the school, but also to de­velop more out­door ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Nom­i­na­tion for the award in­volves sub­mit­ting five es­says, pro­vid­ing a sam­ple of teach­ing ma­te­ri­als and pic­tures, and three let­ters of sup­port from an ad­min­is­tra­tor, a fel­low teacher and a past or cur­rent stu­dent, ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion re­quire­ments listed on the EPA web­site.

Kior­pes said she was sur­prised when she was no­ti­fied in mid-July.

“I was think­ing that maybe I’d get an hon­or­able men­tion,” Kior­pes said. “You never think you’re go­ing to get the big award.”

Ac­cord­ing to the EPA award’s web­site, “[Kior­pes] places a strong em­pha­sis on her stu­dents get­ting out­doors, par­tic­i­pat­ing in out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, and tak­ing lead­er­ship and plan­ning roles. She gives stu­dents nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence the en­vi­ron­ment through ca­noe­ing, wa­ter qual­ity test­ing, macroin­ver­te­brate stud­ies, trash col­lec­tion and stream clean­ing. Her stu­dents have ed­u­cated com­mu­nity mem­bers about Na­tional Marine Sanc­tu­ar­ies, as well as planted na­tive flower gar­dens and trees to in­crease aware­ness of cli­mate change, watershed health, and ocean health.”

The site also men­tions her work with the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources-spon­sored pro­grams “Rais­ing Horse­shoe Crabs in the Class­room” and “Trout in the Class­room,” and with the NOAA Ocean Guardian pro­gram.

North Point was the first school in Mary­land to be named an Ocean Guardian school by NOAA and will be re­ceiv­ing its sec­ond Ocean Guardian ban­ner from NOAA, Kior­pes said.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO Lolita Kior­pes, en­vi­ron­men­tal sciences teacher at North Point High School, was one of 11 teach­ers na­tion­wide hon­ored dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the White House Aug. 16.

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