Olivia Griset became a classroom teacher, in part, to help children to learn about the environment. She studied at Utah State University and moved to Maine in 2003 to work for the Maine Audubon Society. She now teaches biology, oceanography, and field ecology to grades 10 through 12 at Lisbon High School in Lisbon Falls.
Olivia continually looks for hands-on, relevant ways to teach her students about the environment. Through a partnership with a local sawmill and the Maine Forest Service, she created a forestry field program for her students. Partners of this initiative are together designing “From Roots to Retail,” an adult education program to show teachers how they can best explain sustainable forest management to their students.
Olivia also implements Maine’s Forestry Inventory Growth (FIG) program, based on PLT’s Forest Ecology module. This program uses an online data system to allow students in different schools to compare data and monitor changes over time. With Olivia’s leadership, this hands-on investigation tool has lead to practical learning, directly impacting many student lives.
Her passion for the outdoors is legendary. As one student says, “Almost every weekend she goes on a spectacular science journey. Whether a simple mountain biking trip or a crazy storm surfing adventure, she brings back hilarious yet educational stories that force the class to enjoy…the science field.” As a PLT facilitator and consulting teacher to a grant awarded to PLT and the University of Maine, Olivia trains other teachers to use PLT in their education work and stresses the importance of getting students outside.
“Olivia’s love of teaching is evident the second you walk into her classroom. She commands the attention of every one of her students and demands that they work toward and achieve their full academic potential.”
– Kenneth Halsey, Principal, Lisbon High School, Lisbon Falls, Maine
Olivia was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2009.