Allison Hall Kiesler was most recently the Children’s Garden Programmer at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, where she developed K-5 outdoor discovery programs, training, and resources. Previously, she taught science to grades 5-8 at Orchard House School and ran an educational consulting firm called Earthwise Science Excursions in the Classroom.
She was known for her expertise in involving students in environmental and outdoor experiences, and providing access to green areas in urban settings. She developed other educational programs, interpretive exhibits, and self-guided trails for Maymont Nature Center, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, and the Mathematics and Science Center, that have been enjoyed by thousands of Richmond area families.
Allison, who was one of the first Virginia educators to participate in a PLT workshop more than 30 years ago, enjoyed sharing her knowledge and experience with other educators. She led numerous workshops and served as a mentor to many educators. Even when she had to resign from her position at the Botanical Garden due to health reasons, she continued to work on PLT and other environmental education activities. Generations of students and teachers recall the impact Allison had on their appreciation for the natural world and career decisions.
Her daughter, Sarah Kiesler, a first grade teacher at Mary Munford Elementary in Richmond who last summer attended a PLT workshop with her principal and colleagues, says, “My mom’s enthusiasm for environmental education spread to me and many others.”
“Allison was the consummate educator, bringing to every encounter with children and adults an uncanny ability to recognize the ‘teachable moments’ that offer memorable opportunities to connect humans with their natural surroundings and develop a sense of environmental stewardship.”
– Randee Humphrey, Director of Education, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, Virginia
Allison was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2013.