Michael (Mike) Sustin, an Ohio science teacher for 24 years, teaches environmental science and chemistry. He established and coaches the school’s Envirothon team and leads other extracurricular activities, such as summer ecology expeditions and an after-school Nature Club for fifth graders and their high school mentors. As a facilitator of PLT professional development workshops, he helps other educators integrate environmental education into various subject areas.
Through Mike, students are involved in innovative projects that extend beyond the classroom walls. They have planted trees, created rain gardens, and constructed an outdoor learning lab on school grounds. They lead recycling, composting, and energy-saving programs. They worked with the Ohio Division of Wildlife to develop a bobcat and black bear population study and were honored by the National Wildlife Federation for a wetlands project.
In 2012, Mike went to the Arctic Circle as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. In 2014, he traveled to Alaska after being selected by the National Park Service and No Barriers Youth as a teacher-leader for their inaugural Climate Change Academy. His passion for engaging students in learning about and developing an appreciation for the environment has resulted in numerous awards. In 2014, West Geauga High School was recognized as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, and Mike received the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Education.
“Mike gives so much of his time and talents to his students. A leader of learners, he is a true explorer and a living legacy.”
– Katie Nainiger and Gail Prunty, Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio
Mike was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2015, as well as National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2014.