Ellen Reynolds, Executive Director, Beagle Ridge Environmental Education Center, Wytheville, Virginia
Ellen Reynolds is a Master Gardener whose passions are plants, landscaping, and science. She established the non-profit Beagle Ridge Environmental Education Center on the 160-acre retreat and herb farm that she and her husband own in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ellen is also a part-time interpreter at Douthat State Park and Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District and provides educational programs correlated to Virginia’s Standards of Learning to Bath, Alleghany, and Highland County schools. A vermicomposting project using PLT activities on the combined campus of Mountain View Elementary School and Clifton Middle School evolved into an outdoor classroom. Ellen went on to design and build an outdoor classroom at Covington High School. She now has plans to develop three more at elementary schools, in combination with Junior Master Gardener programs, and has taken the lead on a statewide initiative that aims to establish outdoor classrooms in all of Virginia’s 2,000 schools by the year 2014. In every situation, Ellen uses PLT to strengthen her educational programs because, she says, the beauty of PLT activities is that they are so easily adapted into lessons and outreach programs.
Ellen was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2006.