Environmental Education Coordinator from Tech Named Michigan Educator of the Year

by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

Michigan Educator of the YearJoan Chadde, educational program coordinator for the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, has been selected as Michigan Project Learning Tree's Educator of the Year. Project Learning Tree is an environmental education program run by the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE).

She will compete with 14 other environmental educators for the National Project Learning Tree's top award.

Chadde has spent her entire career engaged in some aspect of environmental education. She has taught communicating science at Michigan Tech since 1998. She has served on the board of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) since 2006, including as president and conference chairperson.

This year, Chadde became co-coordinator of the Environmental Education and Urban Schools Initiative: Bringing Forests to the Classroom, for Detroit teachers. The 47 teachers who took part in the initiative are introduced to lessons and activities that they can teach right in their schoolyard or other urban setting.

In her Michigan Tech position, Chadde conducts teacher workshops and summer institutes on environmental education topics, including forest ecology, biofuels from forests, global change, community land use, amphibian surveys, wetlands, the Great Lakes and stream monitoring. She was among the first university faculty members in Michigan to incorporate Project Learning Tree principles into the classes she was teaching.

"Understanding the importance and relevance of what is going on in the natural world is something all children and adults must learn in order to ensure its survival and healthy continuation," said Michigan DNRE Project Learning Tree.

Coordinator Ada Takacs said, "Joan Chadde's name has become synonymous with outdoor education in Michigan. She is very deserving of this award."

For more information about the Michigan Project Learning Tree program, visit www.michiganplt.org .
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