Kari Abbott volunteers two to three days a week in two public schools and one private school in Williamsburg and James City County, Virginia. She uses Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Junior Master Gardener Project, for which she is the volunteer chairperson, to teach an in-school science adjunct that infuses environmental education into the first and third grade courses of study. Seven first grade classes and eleven third grade classes, a total of 390 students, participate in year-long PLT-based programs developed by Kari that use experiential learning to teach important science facts and inspire children to care for the environment. W3 [Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife] and U for first grade students is woven around 18 PLT activities; the third grade program Cycling Through Third Grade uses an additional nine PLT activities. Kari leads each PLT activity in every teacher’s classroom, giving teachers and student teachers personal training in PLT without having them miss class time. She has received several grants to support these curriculum programs and fund environmental field trips, as well as literature donations to support PLT’s reading connections.
Kari was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2007.