Mira Branham | Reporter
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
On Jan. 27, the Hendricks County Solid Waste Management District (HCSWMD) presented Chemistry and AP Environmental Science teacher Lisa Kern with the Environmental Educator of the Year Award.
According to the HCSWMD member Amy Sieferman, the award was created in 2010 as a way to acknowledge local science educators who encourage environmental awareness, as well as to highlight student participation in community improvement events.
“The Hendricks County Solid Waste Management District has developed an Environmental Education Award to recognize individuals whose work in the community furthers the mission of the District,” Sieferman said. “That mission is to promote recycling, waste reduction and responsible waste management within Hendricks County.”
Sieferman was the one who researched which teachers are focusing on environmental education around Hendricks County, but it was Assistant Principal Frank Meyer and Biology teacher Malari Williams who worked to surprise Kern with the announcement during a meeting with the science department; they even invited her husband and had a coffee and smoothie bar.
“It’s really an honor to have my work recognized by people who understand how important environmental issues are, and who work so actively in our community to minimize our environmental impact,” Kern said. “I think this award will help me to keep my focus on the importance of the work I do, both at AHS and in my community.”
Kern earned degrees in both Biology and Science Education, and was raised with an appreciation for nature. Together with her husband and two sons, the Kern family spends a lot of time traveling, hiking, camping, and learning about the world around them.
“In recent years I have become increasingly concerned that people are generally unaware of many aspects of science, from the current mass extinction, to misinformation about how diseases are transmitted, to climate change,” Kern said. “I believe that teaching young people about environmental issues is the most important thing I can do with my life; my students give me a lot of hope for the future!”
AP Environmental student and sophomore Aden Esquivel said that, unlike some teachers, Kern is able to keep her students invested in science and often encourages them to get involved in community events outside of the classroom.
“I enjoy that [Kern] is always showing us information that relates to current events that are happening around the world, such as the burning of the Amazon Rainforest or the Coronavirus, and what we can do to help,” said Esquivel.
To many students like Esquivel, the impact Kern has had on students, the way they learn, and how they think of the world around them cannot be topped.
“I believe [Kern] deserves the award because she is always doing her part to help others and educate them to do the same,” Esquivel said. “Her commitment to teaching and saving our planet is inspiring to everyone around her and we couldn’t imagine learning without her.”
Photo submitted by Lisa Kern.