Made possible thanks to funding from an anonymous donor at the Seattle Foundation, the annual Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education, Environment, and Community honors extraordinary teachers in Washington K-12 schools who are creating equitable, project-based learning experiences that inspire stewardship and environmental awareness.
We acknowledge that this has been an extraordinarily challenging year for teachers and students. That’s why we believe it’s more important than ever to celebrate teachers who have continued to find ways to engage students in meaningful and equitable environmental learning. We hope that recognizing these teachers will foster broader appreciation for the creative ways educators are supporting students right now.
This award was established to honor Patsy Collins, a philanthropist and civic leader who cared deeply about education and stewarding our environment and natural resources for generations to come.
This year, six teachers were selected to receive the Patsy Collins Award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize in recognition of their commitment to creating equitable learning experiences that make a difference for kids, their communities, and the planet. Teachers can be nominated for the award or nominate themselves, and are selected by a committee of IslandWood educators and staff, Seattle Foundation Staff, and a past award recipient.
Nominations for the 2021 Patsy Collins Award are now closed. Check back later this year for more information about the 2022 nomination timeline!
This year, we were thrilled to honor six extraordinary educators, including Brian Goff of Lopez Island Elementary School, Craig Parsley of Louisa Born STEM K-8, Kit Pennell of Chimacum Elementary School, Kathleen Hall of Jason Lee Middle School, Mike Bosko of Wahluke Junior High School, and Rachel Petrik-Finley of Garfield High School. In the words of Director of Campus Programs, Dr. John Haskin, “by inspiring their students to become environmental and community stewards, they are helping create a better world for us all.”
Please join us in recognizing these extraordinary teachers who are going above and beyond for kids, our communities, and the planet.
Middle school science teacher, Laura Tyler has been advocating for environmental education, in her words, “long before it was trendy.” Thirty years ago, she helped start Seattle Public School District’s recycling program. In the years since, she has continued in a leadership role, serving on the board of Washington Science Teachers Association, the Seattle Schools Next Generation Science Standards adoption committee, and elsewhere. Today, she takes her students on weekly walking field trips to observe the seasonal changes and to use the natural environment as a lab to study biology, geology, chemistry, and physics. Multiple generations of her students have worked on local restoration projects. She has partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation in the East Duwamish Beltway and Seattle Tilth in Rainier Beach Farm and Urban Wetland. She also secured funding for her students to decorate a chain-link fence in a local park with native flowers they created from plastic bottles. “I want [my students] to be keen observers of different environments, tenacious problem solvers, and critical thinkers,” says Laura.
“I am deeply committed to nurturing my students’ sense of resiliency and agency through animal-focused stewardship.” Since 2004, Jennie Warmouth has been teaching her students to write online adoption advertisements for homeless dogs and cats awaiting adoption at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Lynnwood, WA. Her students have helped over 500 “difficult to place” dogs and cats find forever homes. Jennie inspires her students to use their emerging communication and critical thinking skills to tackle human-animal and environmental dilemmas that they witness in their own lives. Most recently, her second and third grade students advocated for the humane treatment of live butterflies used in their school district’s life sciences curricula. “They are motivated toward compassionate action and stewardship that extends beyond the four walls of our classroom,” she says.
“A thriving educational environment is one that fosters relationships beyond the classroom walls and empowers students as members of their communities.” Elizabeth Wing has cultivated this community engagement through numerous partnerships. In a study of Pacific Northwest Native Americans and the vital role of salmon, her students worked alongside Snoqualmie tribal members in habitat restoration along salmon spawning water routes. Her students helped their school become a King County Level Four Sustainable School by educating the community on reducing and recycling waste and on energy and water conservation. Most recently, Carnation Elementary became a 2018 National US Green School award winner. With Oxbow Farm, a local organic farm and education center, Elizabeth has designed lessons on sustainability and the environment. She also connected the district’s food service director to local organic farmers to supply produce for lunches. The school is now a USDA Bronze Level Farm to School Site.