Come Honor the 2013 Recipients of Statewide Awards for Excellence in Environmental & Sustainability Education

Come Honor the 2013 Recipients of Statewide Awards for Excellence in  Environmental & Sustainability Education


The Story

E3 Washington's "3 e's" Summer Evening

A Summer Celebration of Environmental & Sustainability Education for All 

June 27, 2013

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Register Here


E3 Washington Green Apple Award Winners:

Formal Educator Awards (4 awards) – recognizes outstanding formal environmental and sustainability educators in WA state. This award has 4 categories: PreK-5, 6-8, 9-12, and College/University.

  • Formal Educator (Prek-5): Barbara Bromley, Clear Creek Elementary

For the past three years, Barb has been an active participant in the West Sound GreenSTEM Network, which was developed to support teachers and students engaging in STEM field-based investigations and sustainable design projects. Each year she takes her 4th grade students on a journey to learn and make a difference in the environment. She excels not only in designing elegant learning experiences, but also in connecting with the world outside of school, both locally and globally. She works extensively with local community partners and exemplifies a teacher who engages her children in learning about sustainable systems.

 “How do you measure the inspiration a fourth grade teacher gives her students? I can see it in the eyes of her “kiddos”, as they stand tall and confidently explain what they have learned to anyone who will listen. I have no doubt that these children will grow to adults who have more than the knowledge to care for the Earth; they have the heart and confidence that they can make a difference.” – Karen Lippy, Olympic Educational Service District 114


  • Formal Educator (6-8): John Schmied, Skyview Junior High

John is one of a select group of teachers that has worked tirelessly to provide students with an understanding of what sustainability is and the choices they and their families have to lead more sustainable lives. He will work tirelessly with anyone, anywhere, anytime to promote positive action for balancing our resources with our desire for modern conveniences. He is forever renewing his passion for this work; continually developing new ideas, while supporting existing programs he has launched over the years. John uses everything from worm ranching, service learning in the environment, to research on utility websites to make learning fun and authentic for students.

“I think what is amazing about John is how much he inspires his students. Every year his students propose and actually do a project he created called, “A Gift for the Environment” where they each do something special to help the environment. Student projects have ranged anywhere from planting native plants and eradicating invasives, to convincing their parents to buy CFL’s, energy star appliances and even hybrid automobiles!” – Jennifer Howell, Triangle Associates


  • Formal Educator (9-12): Tom Armentrout, Bainbridge High School

“Tom Armentrout is the epitome of what teacher should aspire towards. He encourages his students to think outside the box, take on challenges and think big. It is my belief that Tom's approach to teaching creates lifelong learners and stewards of the environment.” – Kristen Cann, Salish Sea Expeditions

Tom is always reaching out to the community to find ways to integrate real-life science in his teachings. Tom has brought ROV's, Salish Sea Expeditions Sound and Source programs, ORCA Bowl (WSG) as well as the Seattle Aquariums inter-tidal survey into his classroom as well as taking his students outdoors with these organizations. Last school year he took an Oceanography 101 course to get the credentials to bring the college credit course to Bainbridge High School. Tom has been teaching for over 20 years and still finds ways to inspire himself, his students and his community.

  • Formal Educator (College/University): Dr. James Gawel, University of Washington Tacoma

“Jim is an outstanding environmental educator. A number of Jim's students are working for local environmental firms, state government agencies, and pursuing advanced degrees in environmental fields. It is safe to say this is at least partially due to Jim's great mentorship.” - Dr. Bonnie J. Becker, University of Washington Tacoma

In addition to mentoring countless students conducting research on lake health both locally and on Mount Saint Helens (for which he won a "Best Student Mentor award from the whole UW system), Jim includes sustainability in most of what he teaches. He worked with students to get funding to start a Giving Garden on campus, which grows organic food for donation to a local food bank (using a compost program he also helped them start). Likewise, he worked with other students to fund, design, and build two rain gardens on campus.  Jim served as the leader of the Environmental Science program at UWT for six years, serving as a mentor to young faculty as they develop skills to inspire and engage even more students.

Outstanding Informal Educator Award – recognizes an informal educator in WA state who has demonstrated a positive impact on education and advocacy for the environment. 

  • Informal Educator: Leihla Sharlau, South Sound Estuary Association


Leihla facilitates meetings, workshops, and outreach events with numerous partners, stakeholders and the community. She has coordinated and developed much of the popular Beach Naturalist program in the South Sound. This hands-on program, is designed to help participants develop a greater understanding of the South Puget Sound estuary, including the flora and fauna. In addition, she also oversees the Discovery Speaker Series, which offers presentations from a multitude of partners on a variety of relevant topics relating to the South Sound.

 “There’s definitely a greater public awareness of beach biology in the South Sound since Leihla joined South Sound Estuary Association. Leihla wrote and received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement a free bus program to underserved populations and those with disabilities where trained Beach Naturalists were on staff to interpret intertidal habitats for their benefit.” - Robert L. Vadas, Jr., South Sound Estuary Association

Nonprofit/Community Organization Award – recognizes a nonprofit or community organization (or program within the organization) that provides exemplary environmental and sustainability education programs and services.

  • Nonprofit/Community Organization: Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Seattle, WA

The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (DRCC) is leading meetings to involve the community in cleanup up the Duwamish River. They are pushing to have 8 meetings instead of the usual one. The meetings are in the community and in several languages. One is so innovative that it is being held in a volleyball sand gym with a model of the river built in the sand. DRCC has worked with Concord Elementary students to bring awareness of the river and its ecosystem and to troubleshoot a local air quality problem. Additionally, Paulina Lopez has worked with a group of older students to survey the area and determine the recreational needs. A map and plan was created that is being used by Seattle Parks for its planning

“DRCC has recently released a study that shows that residents of Seattle’s Duwamish River valley are exposed to more pollution, have greater vulnerability to pollution-caused illness and live shorter lives than residents in other areas of Seattle and King County. This study was grant funded and done in conjunction with the University of Washington. It has the potential to inspire further study at all levels of education and to save lives.” – Lee Dorigan, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition

Business Excellence Award – recognizes a business (or program within a business) that provides and/or supports exemplary environmental and sustainability education programs.

  • Business Excellence: The Boeing Company

The Boeing Company is committed to being a partner in raising the quality of life in the communities in which it is based, linking out across the globe. The Boeing Company was an early supporter of the E3 Washington process to develop a networked system of people and organizations across the state working towards the full infusion of environmental and sustainability education in schools, colleges/universities and in informal education. Boeing has supported E3 Washington events and special projects to achieve all five E3 Washington goals, especially the Get Together, Connect Up and Build Support Goals.

“There have been untold changes as a result to the field of innovative education programs and ESE throughout the years by Boeing. Boeing executives, engineers, and other professionals they have referred us to have contributed hundreds, if not thousands of hours, to the work of E3 Washington to utilize systems thinking/dynamics and leadership and organizational processes to build capacity for ESE. Boeing has also supported many other organizations to deliver high quality ESE to students, teachers, families and communities with a focus on reaching diverse people in the Puget Sound region in particular.” – Abby Ruskey, E3 Washington

Government Agency Award – recognizes a government agency (or program within a government agency) that provides exemplary environmental and sustainability education programs.

  • Government Agency: Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, WA


The Water Center’s mission is to teach people of all ages to care for and make wise decisions about water. Since the Water Center opened in 1996 it has endeavored to accomplish this mission and has expanded the scope to include the environment and sustainability. The Water Center is an environmental education center that is open free to the public Monday through Saturday. The Exhibit Hall includes aquaria with native fish and amphibians, and exhibits about water, recycling, renewable energy, PBTs (persistent bio accumulative toxins), wetlands and Puddles Place, a young people’s learning area.  Over 3,000 students visit the Water Center for engagement in a wide variety of field trip options about water, plants, conservation, the environment, personal impacts and tours of the Marine Park Water Reclamation Facility and Water Center wetlands area (55 acres). Through programing and events, the Water Center has inspired students to adopt portions of local waterways, promote water conservation and become stewards.

“Although the Water Center’s mission is about water, it has grown and adapted to the changing needs in the community and education, since it opened. As the community becomes more aware of topics impacting the local environment, it has tried to address them either with an exhibit, new curriculum and/or an event.” – Bev Walker, City of Vancouver Water Resources Education Center

Diversity in Action Award – recognizes an individual, organization, or program that demonstrates cultural awareness and encourages a multicultural approach to environmental and sustainability education projects or programs.

  • ·       Diversity in Action: Laurel James, University of Washington

Laurel James serves as the tribal liaison for an National Science Foundation and US Department of Agriculture graduate student training program that partners with Northwest Tribes on integrated landscape and renewable energy planning, with economic, ecologic, technologic, and community development goals. She has had profound impact on how the University of Washington interacts with Tribes on technology research as well as the participation of Native Americans in graduate education at UW. Her impact is especially great on the relationship between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (and their tribal College) and UW.

“Laurel has been a key person supporting the retention of indigenous students once they get to UW. She has no official "responsibility" to do this, it is just the right thing to do, so she does it. She is inspiring, engaging, and supporting individuals and groups in Washington State so they can make a sustainable difference in their communities.” - Daniel Schwartz, University of Washington

K-12 Student Environmental Leader Award – recognizes a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in environmental and sustainability education.

  • Student Leaders: (4 awarded) Cassandra Houghton, Tahoma High School

Cassandra has participated in Tahoma High School's green team for several years. She has also participated in sustainability and environmental education programs, including serving as a leadership team member for the new Sustainability Ambassadors program. Cassandra and a team of students earned an $80,000 State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant to build sustainability demonstration projects at her school district. This national grant was written by Cassandra and her team of students, and she is the student lead on creating a work plan and managing the project. Cassandra is coordinating this project with her team between the Tahoma school district and the City of Maple Valley. The positive inspiration of these signed, legacy demonstration sustainability projects (cisterns, pervious pavement, native re-vegetation, etc) will inspire students and help keep polluted runoff out of the Cedar River long after she graduates.

“I think what Cassandra does best is be realistic. She has such passion for sustainability issues but realizes that not all share her passion. Regardless, she continues to positively promote sustainable behaviors at both the school and district level. Cassandra values the importance of having all the district schools work together and is setting up the foundation for this to continue after she graduates in June. Cassandra also sees the importance of having partnerships between the school district and the community and has been working this year on cultivating such a partnership around the topics of waste free Wednesday and storm water.” - Clare Vila Nance, Tahoma High School

Student Leaders: (4 awarded) Ewan Shortess, Port Townsend High School

After learning about climate change issues in his science classroom, he helped to form the 'Students for Sustainability' (SFS) at his high school and was unanimously elected by his peers to serve as President. He leads lunchtime meetings each Wednesday where he facilitates an energetic and talented group of students trying to make sustainable changes in reducing the carbon footprint of the high school. There is no faculty sponsor. Ewan and about 15 other students run this group alone, with great success! Ewan also serves as the student representative on the Climate Action Committee, a city and county group charged with implementing Jefferson County’s Climate Action Plan.

“Ewan is wise beyond his years, but backs up his knowledge with superior leadership skills and a dedication to making a positive contribution to his school, his friends, his community and the planet as a whole. Ewan also demonstrates his willingness to step up, even into the adult world that he is just beginning to enter. He is the only student on the Climate Action Committee but contributes as much as any other member, many of whom are elected officials and community leaders.” – Laura Tucker, Jefferson County Climate Action Committee

Student Leaders: (4 awarded) Galen Chuang, Garfield High School

Galen is a senior at Garfield High School and co-president of the Earth Corps club at her school. In this role, Galen directly leads the clubs efforts to engage the school community in sustainable practices and increase environmental awareness. Over the 2012-2013 school year these efforts have largely centered on waste reduction and composting. In addition, Galen has worked with her peers to organize and facilitate volunteer projects at the Garfield High School native plant garden. Beyond Galen’s extensive involvement in the environmental efforts of her school, she has also been a strong leader with the larger YMCA Earth Service Corps. Galen has served as a student leader within the larger organization this year and played an important role as Youth Moderator at the Environmental Summit and Youth Host at the Urban Action: Think Local, Be Vocal Environmental Symposium.

“Galen is an exceptional individual who does not shy away from a challenge or an opportunity. She truly represents the combination of passion, hard work and dedication we hope to see in all environmental leaders.” - Geoff Eseltine, YMCA Earth Service Corps

Student Leaders: (4 awarded) Wyatt Coffin, Crosspoint

Wyatt helped start up the compost program at Crosspoint, fall of 2011. The program was new and there were a lot of challenges. He has continued to monitor the compost program this year. He has trained other students. The school now has many students wanting to be responsible for monitoring composting. Wyatt took the responsibility seriously. He was the only secondary student from Crosspoint to attend the 2012 STEM Summit in Mason County.

“Wyatt's courage and dedication is inspiring. He has continued to help with the program, even after facing many challenges.” – Carla Fontenot, Teacher




  Come honor phenomenal educators, students, & organizations who are recipientsof the 2013:
E3 Washington 
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
3 E's




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