May 04

2010 NSTA Environmental Educator of the Year, Cindy Suchanek

by Staff

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Day we wanted to highlight our 2010 NSTA Environmental Educator of the Year, Cindy Suchanek from Mira Loma High School Sacramento, California

Cindy Suchanek Educator of the Year

Cindy recently received the NSTA Environmental Educator of the Year award. As the winner, Cindy received $5,000 from the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund plus a chance to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa with her students.

Cindy was recognized for her efforts working with the International Baccalaureate (IB) science students at Mira Loma High School in Sacramento, Ca. on a multi-year, interdisciplinary creek project at a local watershed. This ecological study, the Arcade Creek Project, brings together several hundred IB biology, physics, chemistry and environmental science students to evaluate the health of this urban creek. By doing ecological assessments, students are taught to understand the issues and associated solutions. This project is well respected in the Sacramento community and serves as a template for other such studies.

A California native, Cindy was given an amazing education by both of her parents who appreciated and shared the importance of the natural world. As a child, trips to the ocean and into the high Sierra gave her perspectives on both the beauty and fragility of the environment.

This holistic approach continued into her training at the University of Washington where she majored in Zoology, with emphasis on ecology and natural history. Teaching is a gift that Cindy embraces with gusto. Sharing the vital lessons of environmental sustainability has always been her mission. She has explored many remote places in the world with her ecologist husband, and these treks to places such as Papua New Guinea, northern Alaska and the Caribbean only reinforce the importance of helping students to see the universal lessons of conservation.

Congratulations to Cindy and to educators everywhere that are sharing the importance of conservation with their students.