2011 Recipient - Karen Matsumoto
Above and beyond her position as Outreach Coordinator at the Seattle Aquarium, Karen has brought learning opportunities to students of diverse ages, cultures, and abilities throughout western Washington. Here are just some of the highlights from her 15 years in education:
- Launching Ecosystem Penpal, an environmental, cultural, and natural history exchange program that connects students from Washington with students in the Pacific Islands.
- Managing Citizen Science, an intertidal monitoring program that recently sent a group of local students to Washington D.C. to present a video entitled “Our Sacred Waters – Ocean Acificiation and Suquamish” to a Climate Change conference and at the Smithsonian Museum.
- Volunteering for the City of Seattle Parks Department's Race and Social Justice Change Team, and for the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community's projects to preserve stories from people of Japanese descent in the Pacific Northwest.
- Recruiting students and organizing activities with Salmon Homecoming, which this year included 950 students from Indian Education programs and underserved schools in the Seattle area.
For all this work and more, Karen's dedication to connecting underserved people to the world around them captivated the selection committee. In her own words,
"Honoring alternative cultural perspectives and traditional ecological knowledge, my teaching has always been based on hands-on, place-based educational practices that provide opportunities for students to connect with local ecosystems through field science-based and stewardship activities. My goal is to help students understand what it means to be a responsible community citizen, how culture intersects with science, and how all things are connected in the web of life."
Karen Matsumoto exemplifies Patsy Collins' passion for meaningful education that connects communities with their environments. We are delighted to honor her.
Provided by an anonymous donor and presented at the EEC graduation ceremony at IslandWood, The Patsy Collins Award includes $5,000 for the recipient and an additional $2,500 to donate to a school or charity of his or her choice. Leif Herald has chosen the Horticulture Science and Botany Program of Seattle Public Schools at Ingraham High School because it emphasizes student involvement at an on-site community P-Patch and edible green organic gardens.