Cindi Smith-Walters is a professor of biology at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and co-director of the MTSU Center for Environmental Education in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She has been a dedicated leader in environmental education in the state for several decades, personally training thousands of educators to use PLT to improve student learning and promote stewardship.
Cindi helped make PLT and environmental education an important component of Tennessee’s overall education curriculum while working at the Tennessee Department of Education. Over the years she has been selected to serve on multiple state and national committees and helps school principals, superintendents, curriculum supervisors, and teachers throughout the state implement PLT and other environmental education curricula. Since coming to MTSU in 1993, she has won numerous university faculty awards.
“In our state, when the subject of environmental education comes up, the first name mentioned is Cindi Smith-Walters…She has influenced so many youth but also so many adults in Tennessee through her passion and her dedication to PLT and environmental education.”
– Candace Dinwiddie, Executive Director, Tennessee Forestry Association
Cindi was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2012.
Ginger Reasonover, Science Lab Coordinator, David Lipscomb Elementary School, Nashville, Tennessee
Ginger Reasonover is a nonformal educator who reaches students through her work as a science lab coordinator, as well as through Scout, church, and other community groups. She has helped shape environmental education at her school by developing an outdoor classroom, school-wide recycling, and other activities to green her school. Thanks to Ginger’s efforts, the school is recognized as a model on the Environmental Education in Tennessee website, and she often answers inquiries from other schools who aspire to meet that criteria. She serves on the Tennessee Outdoor Classroom Symposium committee and the Tennessee Environmental Literacy Plan committee. She uses PLT with 360 students, PreK through grade 4.
Ginger was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2011.
Hilary Hargrove, Ninth-Twelfth Grade Science and Honors Ecology Teacher, Riverdale High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Hilary Hargrove uses PLT in her physical science, ecology, and environmental science classes and to prepare her students to participate as a team in the annual Envirothon. In their first two years of competition, they received top regional honors. She also serves as an advisor to Riverdale’s environmental club. Hilary’s first exposure to PLT was when she was a high school student herself! She went on to study science in college and became trained in PLT while student teaching. Since she joined the teaching staff at Riverdale in 2003, her students have established an outdoor classroom, reclaimed wetlands on school property, improved walking trails, and planted native trees and other vegetation. Her students are often found outdoors learning in the environment they help to maintain.
Hilary was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2009.
Daniel Edmiston, Fifth Grade Science Teacher, E.A. Harrold Elementary School, Millington, Tennessee
Through the “E Club” (Environmental Club), Daniel Edmiston involves his students in creating and maintaining outdoor classrooms and landscaping the school campus. Last year, his students gave each teacher a butterfly chrysalis harvested from the school gardens so that each class could witness a butterfly emerge. Dan has been a consultant for outdoor classrooms at nine different schools in Shelby County. At his own school, E.A. Harrold Elementary, Dan also organizes a science fair, a family science night, and an Earth Day Celebration at which over 40 natural resource professionals and conservationists are invited to share their craft with the whole school. All the teachers now utilize the outdoor classrooms as a result of Dan’s introduction to environmental education. Dan was first trained in PLT in 1996 and received further training in 2006 when he attended a week-long Teacher Conservation Workshop.
Dan was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2008.