CONSERVATION EDUCATION AWARD
The Conservation Education Award for Primary School Teacher went to Mrs. Lindsay Absher Brown. Mrs. Brown has been teaching at Buckingham County Primary School for the last 10 years. Mrs. Brown grew up on a farm in Buckingham County. As a result, she has a passion for incorporating conservation education in her classroom. She has a Circle of Life picture in her classroom, produced by her very artistic mother. She uses this picture to teach life cycles of frogs, and butterflies, along with the water cycle. Over the years, she has used her classroom as a way to expose her students to many living creatures; she recently hatched chickens in an incubator provided by the local 4-H office. Mrs. Brown also incorporates “from the farm to the table into her curriculum”. Her classroom reading library is loaded with books related to the environment and the critters who live there. Each year Mrs. Brown coordinates with the Peter Francisco SWCD to offer an array of conservation education programs for second grade students at Buckingham Public Schools. Programs include Wildlife Scat, Tracks and Skulls; Soil Babies; the Soil Tunnel; Incredible Journey; Pollinators; Erosion Experiments; and Recycling Relay. Mrs. Brown also ensures that K-2 summer school students are exposed to environmental education by inviting the District to provide conservation programs.
Mr. Andrew J. Schmitt, Welding Instructor at the Buckingham County High School Career and Technical Center, received the Conservation Education Award for Secondary School Teacher. Mr. Schmitt began coaching an Envirothon Team for Buckingham County High School (BCHS) four years ago. For the past 4 years, the BCHS Envirothon team has qualified and competed at the Area and State level. The areas of study for Mr. Schmitt’s conservation education program are aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and whatever special topic is assigned each year for the competition. Additionally, Mr. Schmitt serves as a Future Farmers of America (FFA) Advisor assisting with the Environmental and Natural Resources contest at the Virginia FFA State Convention. He is also the Agricultural Mechanics Coach for High School and Middle School Teams, as well as providing coaching assisting with the team topics of Small Animal Care, Job Interview; Middle School Crops; and Middle School Plant Science. Mr. Schmitt works with an array of students, whether they are bound for the work force or college. He heavily encourages environmental studies for college-bound students after introducing them to the field through Future Farmers of America and the Envirothon Team. He is very instrumental in promoting the District’s scholarship program to these students as well. Mr. Schmitt also serves on the ECMC Nominating Committee, which is a scholarship program for Buckingham County Seniors. He even offers guidance on which school to attend in order to best meet a student’s goals. He trains those students who are headed directly to the work force and then helps them find jobs—whether it be in welding, forestry, farming, or military service.