Barbara Murphy, Gifted Specialist, Westlawn Middle School, Huntsville, Alabama
To Barbara Murphy, teaching about the environment is “a natural hook” to get kids excited about learning. Her goal is to develop and strengthen a program that provides outdoor experiences, connects her school with the community, and provides hands-on experience in addressing environmental issues. In addition to teaching environmental education and Spanish as electives, Barbara conducts enrichment classes in topics that range from gardening to rocketry to Italian. She involves children in Alabama Water Watch, CoCoRah (which teaches about precipitation), and, of course, PLT. In 2006, a GreenWorks! grant laid the foundation for an award-winning student-led project to create an outdoor classroom. Barbara, an avid hiker, outdoor photographer, and wildflower enthusiast, has encouraged many other teachers to incorporate the environment into their curriculum.
Barbara was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2010.