New York

  • Outstanding Educator
    Jessica Olenych

    Jessica Olenych, Environmental Educator, Common Ground Educational Consulting, Arkville, New York

    Jessica Olenych works with K-12 students and teachers on forestry and watershed education, particularly in the New York City watershed. She uses PLT in her work with the NYC Watershed Bus Tours program and with Green Connections, which connect urban students with the environment and with their peers in rural communities. She also trains teachers using PLT through the Watershed Forestry Institute and through Forestry Teacher Tours. Jessica co-chaired the committee to organize the North American Association for Environmental Education’s national conference in 2010.

    “A testament to Jessica’s impact is the trust and respect she receives from colleagues, teachers, and students. Her attention to detail, ability to make connections, and enthusiasm for PLT and EE make her well deserving of this award.”

    – Susan Cox, Conservation Education Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service

    Jessica was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2015.

  • Outstanding Educator
    Barbara Adams

    Barbara Adams, Teacher, Clifton Park Nursery School, Clifton Park, New York

    Barbara Adams has taken the lead in helping Clifton Park Nursery School institute recycling, clean with greener products, and teach pre-schoolers about the environment. Using PLT as a foundation, she introduces her students to the natural world, using puzzles, stories, outdoor observation, and other activities. She has developed strong connections with two nearby environmental centers. Prior to coming to Clifton Park, she was head teacher at the Guiderland Community Center Summer Camp, connecting children to the outdoors.

    “Because of her commitment to teaching about the natural world and how to responsibly co-exist with it, all children who are lucky enough to have her as a preschool teacher have instilled within them a true sense of reverence for the environment and for learning.”

    – Lisa Mendel, Co-Chair, Clifton Park Nursery School, Clifton Park, New York

    Barbara was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2014.