Cherie Wyatt’s students consistently score above the state average on the science portion of their state assessment tests. Cherie, who teaches life science and physical science to seventh and eighth graders at Burlington Middle School in Burlington, Colorado, infuses PLT and other environmental education materials into her lessons, often taking her students outside to reinforce classroom learning. For example, her students helped plant milkweed in a vacant lot fronting the school to create a habitat for monarch butterflies.
Cherie initiated a now-annual water festival for her students in which eighth graders helped teach younger students about water resources. She led all her eighth grade students through five activities, after which they chose one to present to small groups of fifth, sixth, and seventh graders.
In addition, Cherie has a strong commitment to helping other teachers. She organizes and presents professional development workshops to fellow educators, as well as to pre-service teachers at the University of Northern Colorado. She introduces them to high-quality environmental education materials and teaching practices and arranges speakers on general science, elementary science, and secondary science to increase teachers’ understanding of ecological concepts and their ability to incorporate related activities into the classroom. Four years ago, Cherie helped create a program for teachers called the High Plains TEN (Teaching Environmental-Science Naturally), which demonstrates how to make better use of local resources and area experts to improve student learning. Each year, a different theme is chosen for a four-day, two-credit class that introduces teachers to speakers, gives them field experiences at nearby sites, provides them with environmental education materials, and mentors them to help them integrate environmental education into their curriculum.
Cherie is an active member of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Wildlife Federation, the Colorado Association of Science Teachers, and the Colorado Association of Biology Teachers.
Cherie was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2008.