Sandy Watson, Second Grade Teacher, Lakewood Elementary School, Phenix City, Alabama
Although it is located inside city limits, Lakewood Elementary School’s campus consists of 88 wooded acres and a seasonal stream. Knowing that this environment would make an excellent classroom, Sandy Watson attended PLT and other environmental education workshops to obtain the tools, training, and resources she needed to take students outdoors. Over the past five years, Sandy has acquired sponsors, materials, and labor to create an outdoor classroom, a nature trail with two outdoor learning stations, a butterfly garden, a secret garden, and a vegetable garden. Teachers, parents, local businesses, and students have all gotten involved. Sandy invites natural resource professionals to visit her school to teach PLT and other environmental education lessons outdoors to provide students with a real-world understanding of the forest and its realm of benefits. In November 2006, the Alabama Wildlife Federation certified Lakewood as an Outdoor Classroom/Schoolyard Habitat (one of only 11 in Alabama).
Sandy was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2007.