WVDEP announces Environmental Teachers of the Year

5/17/2021

​CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is recognizing two educators as “Environmental Teachers of the Year.”
 
The awards will be presented later this month at ceremonies of the recipient’s choosing.
   
The Environmental Teachers of the Year are:

  • Elementary: Sarah Hann, White Sulphur Springs Elementary, Greenbrier County
  • High School: Robert Miller, Boone Career and Technical Center, Boone County
In 2016, Hann recognized a need for a recycling program at her school and, without a funding source, started a program with recycling bins made from cardboard boxes. She recruited two fifth-grade students, who agreed to become part of a “recycling crew.” Hann drove materials the school collected to a recycling center herself.
 
Today, the school’s recycling program is still going strong. Hann was able to reach an agreement with Lewisburg’s Greenworks Recycling, which hauls away the school’s recyclables, and students are lining up to join the effort. Currently, paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and plastic are being recycled at White Sulphur Springs Elementary.
 
“Although we are a humble, little recycling program, it is still worthwhile,” Hann said. “Small gestures of intention and responsibility for our actions can lead to larger gestures, just as small, elementary students eventually become the adults making those larger gestures of ‘good’ for our state and our planet.”
 
Miller is an instructor for the Adventure Tourism Management Program at the Boone Career and Technical Center, where he is instilling a sense of pride for southern West Virginia into his students. Miller, along with his students’ help, has spearheaded multiple cleanups of roads and streams in Boone County for the past several years.
 
He also works with local and state agencies, as well as private citizens, on projects that benefit the environment. Miller’s students volunteer at the Forks of Coal State Natural Area in Boone County, raise trout in the classroom and help educate grade school students in the county on water quality issues.
 
“His Adventure and Tourism program is a favorite among my students,” Scott High School Principal Jacob Messer said of Miller. “They love what they learn and experience in his classes, which are filled with hands-on, real-world activities and field trips. He also organizes annual community clean-up projects with his students, which incorporates community service into his curriculum.”
 
Each award winner will receive a $500 personal award and a $1,000 award to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education in the classroom.  
 
For more WVDEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter, Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/depwv/, and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.”
 
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Contact:

Terry Fletcher
304-926-0499 ext. 49720
Terry.A.Fletcher@wv.gov