Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Board president, Encanto teacher honored for environmental work

School Board President Kevin Beiser and Encanto Elementary School teacher Lynn Howard have honored by the California State Board of Equalization as "Healthy Planet Local Heroes."
Lynn Howard
The award was given by Betty Yee, State Board of Equalization Member from District #1 to honor local leaders and influencers who have made an impact in creating healthy communities and a healthy planet. Among the other recipients of the award are Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, County Supervisor Dave Roberts, the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Whole Foods Markets, La Vita Compounding Pharmacy, Bastyr University, youth leader Sophia Holbrook, and Max Guinn, Founder of KidsEcoClub.

The awards were presented at a formal gala on Feb. 1 at the Rancho Valencia Resort which included presentations by Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smisthonian's National Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Jeremy Jackson, Yale's Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholar. Proceeds from the event benefitted KidsEcoClub, who partners with educators to bring science, environmental, and leadership programming to K-12 schools in the San Diego Unified School District and across the San Diego region.

Beiser was recognized for his environmental leadership while serving on the school board, most notably the banning of styrofoam lunch trays, the operating of school buses with biofuels, reducing energy use in school facilities, promoting school gardens and locally grown food in school cafeterias, and the passage of a resolution for the closure of the San Onofre nuclear reactors to remain until they are certified safe. The award also noted his "stalwart dedication to the safety and well-being of the students in the San Diego Unified School District," including his contributions to the enactment of the historic anti-bullying program and the expansion of anti-bulling programs.

Howard was recognized for her outstanding leadership, passion, and dedication in her service as a science teacher with the San Diego Unified School District. Howard's focus on global issues that deepen students' understanding of how to build a healthy ecosystem enhanced by biodiversity, and to finding solutions to climate change, have earned her this award. The state also recognized Howard's work with National Geographic in teaching about energy and participating on its Explorer expedition to study arctic bears, and for promoting team work in the learning setting to promote and strengthen multi-cultural interactions. Attendees at the gala took home "seed bombs" of California poppy and native wildflower seeds put together by Howard and her students.