John Hunt, Professor, Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi
John Hunt has been committed to environmental education and to PLT over the course of his science education career. As a professor in the Teacher Education & Leadership program at Mississippi College, he helped launch and co-directs the STEM Institute. He involves students and families in creating books, DVDs, and other materials. He has developed innovative ways to introduce pre-service teachers to PLT and facilitate their use of PLT materials in the classroom. As a member of the Mississippi PLT Advisory Board, he also works with K-8 teachers, students, and families during many weekends.
“When he is not in the classroom or supervising teacher candidates in the field, you can find him working in the local schools, teaching science lessons, or training teachers and administrators. To say he is novel, energetic, and excited about science is quite the understatement.”
– Cindy Melton, Associate Professor, Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi
John was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2012 and again in 2015.
Beverly Smith, Director, Larry Box Conservation Education Center, Brookeville, Mississippi
Beverly Smith directs the Larry Box Conservation Education Center, a facility owned and operated by the Starkville, Mississippi, Public School District and located on the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. She teaches and serves as a liaison between the refuge and the school district. As the second director of the Center, she has found ways to increase its outreach and functionality to the school district, other schools, and the community. She uses PLT in almost every activity she presents. She also facilitates PLT workshops annually for preservice teachers at Mississippi State University.
“Her programs are just outstanding. All of her enthusiasm comes across to the children and makes them excited to be there.”
– Elizabeth Bounds, Teacher, Church Hill Elementary School
Beverly was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2013.
Laura Beiser, Environmental Administrator, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Jackson, Mississippi
Laura Beiser assists many environmental education organizations that receive nonpoint watershed funds, including Mississippi PLT. For the past 10 years, she has planned the state’s Aquafairs, which involve 2,000–3,000 students per year in a field day that includes PLT activities. She worked with professional puppeteers to produce a watershed-related show that now is presented free of charge throughout the state. She served on the committee that developed Connecting Students to Natural Resources, in which an educator worked with teachers in five counties to present environmental education in classrooms, which resulted in improved test scores. She has been a trained PLT facilitator from the outset of Mississippi PLT. She is incoming president of the Mississippi Environmental Education Association and serves on its Environmental Literacy Committee.
Laura was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2010.
Jeannine May, Public Affairs Officer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Jackson, Mississippi
Jeannine May, a former high school science teacher, has worked for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for 25 years. She works with K-12 and college students, blending the agency mission of “helping people help the land” with environmental education. She was trained at the first PLT facilitators’ workshop held in Mississippi in the 1980s. She has developed a water education program for Mississippi youth, as well as a popular mascot named Sam E. Soil. Using PLT, she has formed a team of resource specialists and educators to look at how environmental education can improve student learning in Mississippi, drawing on the experience of Oil City Elementary Magnet School in neighboring Louisiana. She facilitates PLT workshops and spreads the PLT message through her agency’s 82 offices throughout the state.
Jeannine was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2009.