A fifth grade teacher in the San Joaquin Valley town of Turlock has just received a prestigious environmental award according to an announcement yesterday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Bret Sutterley, who teaches at the Walnut Elementary Education Center, was given the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Education (PIAEE).
The annual award is given to honor those who promote environmental education and stewardship. Sutterley and 16 other teachers were honored at a ceremony at the White House for their contributions to protecting the environment. Additionally, 60 students were given the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). The awardees came from across the nation and Guam. Those who attended the ceremony also took part in a climate change workshop led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“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.”
A monetary award of $2,500 was given to each PIAEE winner to be used for professional development. The winner's schools also received a matching amount for environmental education programs.
Sutterley's award was based upon a variety of classroom and field activities related to environmental protection. Those included raising salmon to release into a nearby river, agricultural projects such as growing wheat, field trips to the Pacific Ocean to study sand crabs, managing an on campus recycling program, and developing Public Service Announcements about "Going Green."