May 26th, 2009
The best teachers inspire. Their grasp and excitement of a subject is contagious. Talking to Bertha Vazquez, Susan Vincent and Patrick Curley, you can’t come away without absorbing at least a sliver of their passion for the environment.
This month the National Environmental Education Foundation recognized Vazquez, Vincent and Curley for their innovative approaches to environmental education. Bertha Vazquez, a middle school teacher at a magnet school in Coral Gables, Fla., won the Richard C. Bartlett Education Award, named after the chairman of the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Patrick Curley, a middle and high-school teacher who works with at-risk students in Jacksonville, NC, and Susan Vincent, an earth and marine science teacher in East Harlem, NY, won certificates of merit.
“Kids have always related to the environment,” says Vazquez, who teaches at George Washington Carver Middle School in the Miami-Dade school system. “Teachers need to look for real-life connections that kids can relate to.”