Jennifer Beach is a children’s programmer at the Kenton County Public Library.
Jennifer is a Certified Professional Environmental Educator who facilitates training in PLT for teachers from early childhood through high school. Jennifer has brought the two separate facets of urban libraries and environmental education together by using PLT as the vehicle by which she engages youth and adults. Jenny is one of only three people statewide who has received the Kentucky Early Childhood and Education Training Credential with a specialty in Environmental Education. This allows her to offer continuing education units at her early childhood PLT trainings, which has dramatically increased interest and attendance. In addition, she uses her extensive training to provide environmental education in library programming for the general public and in school outreach programs. Most recently, Jennifer has served her second term on the board of directors for the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education, which doubles as the Kentucky PLT steering committee.
Jennifer was named a National PLT Leadership in Education Award honoree in 2018.
Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez is the state specialist for sustainable programs and director of the center for environmental education in the College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems at Kentucky State University. In that role, she connects with Kentuckians of all ages, in both English and Spanish, particularly to teach about climate change. She has been instrumental in making Kentucky PLT and the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education regional and national leaders in the field of environmental education.
Jennifer holds a B.S. in Modern Languages from Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, an M.A. in Anthropology from the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, Mexico, and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Kentucky State University. She became a Kentucky State Certified Professional Environmental Education in 2014 and was honored as Kentucky PLT’s Outstanding Educator in 2015.
“She goes above and beyond in organizing and conducting PLT and other EE workshops. Her dedication and passion are an inspiration to many environmental educators, including me.”
– Michelle Shane, Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Jennifer was named a National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2016, as well as National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2015.
Nakia Brown, Sixth Grade Teacher, Wingo Elementary School, Wingo, Kentucky
Nakia Brown led the effort to have her school become the first elementary school in Kentucky to receive the Kentucky Green and Healthy School certification. She also mentored another school in the district to achieve the same designation, led a Community Earth Day, and continues to lead the school’s Green Club, among other efforts. Active in the Kentucky Association of Environmental Education and PLT, she even painted her classroom bright green to emphasize the “green” aspects of her teaching.
“Nakia Brown has been a positive influence on our students, schools, and community. She has reached out to make our area realize that whether locally, nationally, or internationally, we can all make a difference by taking an active role.”
– LeAnna Pritchard, National Board Certified Teacher, Third Grade Teacher, Wingo Elementary School, Wingo, Kentucky
Nakia was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2014.
Reeda Hart has worked at the Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in Highland Heights for the past seven years. Before that, she was an elementary school teacher for 27 years.
In her current role as science outreach specialist with NKU, Reeda takes PLT into classrooms in six school systems, integrating the environment into academic lessons and modeling teaching practices for teachers. She has created units on topics ranging from water to energy to life cycles, using PLT as a foundation to provide interactive content that supplements the teaching of core subjects, methods for elaboration, and assessment tools. Over a three-year period during which she worked with six schools, the schools’ Academic Index scores rose significantly. Reeda also helps the schools design and develop outdoor classrooms, emphasizing PLT training for teachers to ensure the spaces are used as effective teaching tools.
Reeda notes, “if we multiply the number of teachers by the number of students they reach each year, times the number of years they teach, it tells us how powerful it is to be a facilitator.”
Reeda also helped develop PLT’s new Early Childhood program, which was launched nationally this year. This curriculum resource, designed specifically for early childhood educators, uses developmentally appropriate techniques for connecting young students to nature. With Reeda’s assistance, NKU is beginning an Early Childhood Alliance to provide PLT training to local preschool teachers.
“Her enthusiasm and positive attitude toward science has spread to others. Students know she makes learning fun, and parents, the school nurse, janitors and other Grant County employees have been found ‘sneaking in’ to hear her lessons, too.”
– Teacher colleagues, Dry Ridge Elementary School, Dry Ridge, Kentucky
Reeda was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2010.
Gail Milligan, Sixth Grade English Language Arts/Literature Teacher, Adair County Elementary School, Columbia, Kentucky
Gail Milligan uses environmental education to meet her English language arts and literature curriculum requirements. She incorporates PLT’s multi-disciplinary activities in her classroom units, making full use of the extensive reading connections listed at the end of each activity. Ever since she was a child, Gail has loved being outside and, as a teacher, she wants her students to learn about and become lifelong caretakers of nature. Her classroom has recently been relocated to a new building surrounded by asphalt and other buildings, and her goal now is to create a natural area for her school with trees, a garden, and an outdoor classroom. Gail took her first PLT workshop in 1993; she became a PLT facilitator in 2004. She consistently promotes PLT to fellow educators and administrators in her school district and at conferences. Recently, she presented a session on using PLT to teach curriculum literature at the Kentucky Reading Conference.
Gail was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2007.