Heidi Campbell teaches science and Arkansas history to grades 6-8 at Mabelvale Magnet Middle School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Most of her students are from an urban area and have no experience being in a natural environment. Heidi, of course, makes a point to change all that! Heidi uses experiments, research projects, field trips, camping trips, and hands-on activities to transform her students’ attitudes and misconceptions and get them accustomed to working outdoors. PLT is an important tool in her bag of tricks.
As students progress, Heidi gives them more opportunities to get involved and take ownership in year-round campus projects. They learn to care for the classroom animals, plant trees, landscape the school grounds, keep up the greenhouse, and maintain the koi pond. Each year, Heidi takes her students on a four-day camping trip and helps advanced students design service-learning projects with an environmental emphasis.
Heidi trained to be a PLT facilitator in 2002 and averages six teacher-training workshops each year. She has developed new ways of presenting workshops so that teachers can meet the in-service requirements for Arkansas and for No Child Left Behind. She includes technology, literature, and writing skills, along with correlations to Arkansas academic standards so educators know how PLT fits with existing curriculum. To help recruit students to the environmental education strand at her school, each year Heidi organizes a Forest Awareness Day. Her seventh and eighth graders spend nine weeks studying Arkansas’ forests and forest management practices. Heidi’s commitment to her students is extraordinary. She has a real passion for the environment and PLT and it radiates throughout her school.
Heidi was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2006.