Alan Sowards develops and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses to help prepare new teachers for the classroom. He uses PLT’s teaching methods and materials to introduce environmental education into lesson plans.
Earlier in his career, he was a high school science teacher, science coordinator for Plano ISD, and vice-president for education at the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (now Texas Oil & Gas Association). Alan developed a program called “Bugs, Bees, Butterflies and Blossoms” to give students at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU) practice teaching science in outdoor settings using PLT’s hands-on activities. Over the years, it has grown to 3,500 student participants each year, ranging from kindergarten through Grade 3.
In evaluating his class, one student wrote, “Now I have experienced how engaged and excited students get when I use the hands-on activities; science and the environment will be what I use to get my students excited about learning.” Alan has also developed online PLT instruction for teachers, conducted research on the impact of PLT on teaching science, and incorporated PLT into the curriculum of several school districts.
“Alan’s drive to excel creates a lasting impression. Often, when I am talking with classroom teachers who graduated from SFASU, they say one of their fondest and most lasting memories is Dr. Sowards’ class.”
– John Boyette, Texas PLT State Coordinator, Forester with Texas A&M Forest Service
Alan was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2015.