Karen Johnson Folsom is lead teacher at Nature’s Classroom, part of Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida, which provides environmental education for about 15,000 sixth graders throughout the county each year. She has developed innovative programs, trained teachers in how they can use environmental education with their students, and set up camps and community events for people of all ages.
Her responsibilities as acting site administrator range from creating partnerships to overseeing a safe and healthy environment for the animals on site. Karen has developed programming to extend the site from its primary focus on sixth graders to students in other grades and the greater public. She has provided hundreds of hours of professional development to fellow formal and informal educators throughout Florida.
As an active PLT volunteer, she mentors facilitators, leads workshops, and now serves on the Florida PLT Steering Committee. Her passion is in reconnecting learners of all ages to the natural systems that we live in. Karen holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida and a Master’s in Education from Argosy University. She was honored as Florida PLT Facilitator of the Year in 2015 for her expertise in creating and conducting workshops for fellow educators.
“I truly feel that the Tampa Bay area has the best trained teachers in the state in environmental education. This is due to the efforts of Karen Johnson Folsom.”
– William Munsey, Educator, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida
Karen was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2016.