Susan Ward has been involved with PLT since the start of her teaching career in the late 1980s, when she helped field-test many of the activities that became part of the revised PLT PreK-8 Guide. She uses PLT with her seventh grade science students on field excursions, camping trips, and in the outdoor classrooms and gardens that she helped create at her school, Whittemore Park Middle School in Conway, South Carolina.
In 2005, Susan worked with the Horry County School District to get PLT activities incorporated into the curriculum as examples of how to include the natural environment within state standards and, as a result, increase student achievement scores. She trained all the district’s middle school science teachers to use PLT activities effectively. She has also conducted many other PLT workshops, training over 200 educators in the Coastal area of South Carolina, as well as Girl Scout leaders.
At Whittemore Park and two other schools where she has also been a teacher, Daisy Elementary and Loris Middle, Susan has launched school-wide recycling programs for paper, plastics, and metal. She teaches students to conserve energy, and takes them on field trips to the Horry County Waste Management site to make them more aware of their civic responsibility as environmental stewards. At Daisy Elementary School, Susan helped to develop and maintain a nature trail and led her students in the planning and creation of a backyard habitat. At Loris Middle School, she created an outdoor classroom area and worked with her students to create a garden for environmental studies.
For the past seven years, Susan has presented her personal experiences using PLT to science teachers attending the South Carolina Science Conference. She helped correlate PLT materials to South Carolina’s curriculum standards and has continually provided leadership within the South Carolina PLT program. Susan presently serves on the South Carolina PLT Steering Committee as an educational representative, a position she has held for the last two years.
Susan was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2008.