• Outstanding Educator
    Maurine Rose Banzhaf

    Maurine Rose Banzhaf, Master Environmental Educator, Woodland Park, Colorado

    When she moved to Colorado from Texas in 2010, Rose became an active, enthusiastic leader in Colorado’s EE community, as she was in Texas. She conducts workshops and programs through the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and many other organizations, reaching preschoolers to senior citizens. She has also conducted PLT workshops for pre-service teachers. She was instrumental in revamping Colorado’s Envirothon program and in developing workshops for grandparents to share EE with their grandchildren. A career engineer, she pilot-tests new PLT activities and helps with many other institutes and programs.

    “She is dedicated to education and has never feared jumping in to make a good teaching situation for any group.”

    – Sally Evans, Environmental Educator

    “Rose has an endless supply of initiatives and ideas, and generates many workshops and programs. She gathers respect and appreciation from all who know and depend on her willingness to donate her time, knowledge, experience, and passion.”

    – Shawna Crocker, Colorado PLT State Coordinator

    Maurine was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2017 and 2016.

  • Outstanding Educator
    Lu Boren

    Lu Boren, Middle School Teacher, St. Columba School, Durango, Colorado

    Lu Boren teaches earth science, chemistry, life science, and other subjects to students in grades 6, 7, and 8 at St. Columba School in Durango, Colorado.

    Lu was first introduced to PLT at a fire ecology workshop soon after the large Missionary Ridge fire raged near Durango. She started using PLT with her classes and, when she saw how much her students benefited, never looked back. She uses environmental topics and PLT activities to wholly engage her students in their learning, for example through studies of forest management, fire ecology, and water quality, which has had a direct impact on students’ interest in science and environmental studies. Her enthusiasm and approach also inspires fellow educators to get students involved in environmental stewardship and service-learning projects. 

    Recognizing that the long distances from Durango to other parts of the state for PLT workshops prevent many teachers from getting involved, Lu became a Colorado PLT Facilitator in 2007. Now she conducts PLT workshops for teachers in her area. Her enthusiasm for and knowledge of PLT has made her the “point person” for other facilitators and teachers in southwestern Colorado.

    Through her efforts, St. Columba became a PLT GreenSchool in 2011. She was honored as Outstanding PLT Educator in Colorado in 2009. 

    “Lu understands that students learn best through field experiences and hands-on activities.  I am impressed with her students’ ability to think critically and discuss complex ecological issues.”

    – Craig Goodell, fire ecologist at the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango

    Lu Boren was named a National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2010 and National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2012.


  • Outstanding Educator
    Cherie Wyatt

    Cherie Wyatt, Science Teacher, Burlington Middle School, Burlington, Colorado

    Cherie Wyatt’s students consistently score above the state average on the science portion of their state assessment tests. Cherie, who teaches life science and physical science to seventh and eighth graders at Burlington Middle School in Burlington, Colorado, infuses PLT and other environmental education materials into her lessons, often taking her students outside to reinforce classroom learning. For example, her students helped plant milkweed in a vacant lot fronting the school to create a habitat for monarch butterflies.

    Cherie initiated a now-annual water festival for her students in which eighth graders helped teach younger students about water resources. She led all her eighth grade students through five activities, after which they chose one to present to small groups of fifth, sixth, and seventh graders.

    In addition, Cherie has a strong commitment to helping other teachers. She organizes and presents professional development workshops to fellow educators, as well as to pre-service teachers at the University of Northern Colorado. She introduces them to high-quality environmental education materials and teaching practices and arranges speakers on general science, elementary science, and secondary science to increase teachers’ understanding of ecological concepts and their ability to incorporate related activities into the classroom. Four years ago, Cherie helped create a program for teachers called the High Plains TEN (Teaching Environmental-Science Naturally), which demonstrates how to make better use of local resources and area experts to improve student learning. Each year, a different theme is chosen for a four-day, two-credit class that introduces teachers to speakers, gives them field experiences at nearby sites, provides them with environmental education materials, and mentors them to help them integrate environmental education into their curriculum.

    Cherie is an active member of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Wildlife Federation, the Colorado Association of Science Teachers, and the Colorado Association of Biology Teachers.

    Cherie was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2008.

  • Outstanding Educator
    Barbara Patterson

    Barbara Patterson, Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources Instructor, Front Range Community College, Fort Collins, Colorado

    Barbara Patterson teaches forestry, wildlife, and natural resources to high school students from nine surrounding school districts and to Front Range Community College students in a two-year natural resources degree program. Barbara was first introduced to PLT in 1981; she became a PLT facilitator in 1984. For more than 20 years, Barbara has used PLT as a basis for her teaching and to get her students to plan and participate in community action projects, including maintaining wildlife habitat and planting trees, teaching in elementary schools, building trails, cutting Christmas trees for food banks, and receiving a GreenWorks! grant. At PLT facilitator workshops, she emphasizes mentoring and incorporating research into the curriculum, as well as strategies for teaching students in low-income and diverse populations.

    Barbara was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2006.