EarthGen’s Green Medalist program honors individuals or groups who have shown leadership in sustainability, inclusion, and resilience within their school community. These characteristics were more important than ever this school year, and Washington’s educational communities were fortunate to have champions working to ensure that environmental learning continued, even during the pandemic.
EarthGen is pleased and honored to recognize the 2021 Green Medalists for:
- Their commitment to making school a healthier and greener place to learn.
- Their willingness to value others and make them feel welcome.
- Their persistence in the face of obstacles and setbacks.
Lucy Jonson, Jason Lee Middle School student
Rosie Zhou, Joel E. Ferris High School student
Deborah Richardson, Onalaska Middle School teacher
Michelle Sanow, Community member, formerly of Clark County Public Health
Rachel Stendahl, ESD 113 regional outdoor science coordinator
Nancy Stoy, Lacamas Lake Elementary School Green Team Leader
Maria Antos, Linda Korum, and Andie Noye, Tukes Valley Middle School teachers
It’s a cliché to say that young people bring fresh energy and ideas to a movement, but Lucy Jonson proves that it’s true. In a district hard-hit by the pandemic, Jonson developed light-hearted yet respectful socially-distant fundraising strategies to support the installation of a solar array at her school. Jonson partnered with local businesses to provide gift certificates and produced a campaign video for social media. Her enthusiasm was infectious, recruiting other students to join her in the Purple Hair Challenge and inspiring others to begin a Walk-a-thon and other fundraising campaigns.
EarthGen works to equip youth to grow their power as changemakers for a sustainable future. High school student Rosie Zhou tapped into her own changemaking power to lead Joel E. Ferris High School to EarthGen certification in the Waste & Recycling category. As one of their Green Team leaders, Zhou worked with the district to gain approval for their food waste project and bring compost bins to the lunchroom. But they also got hands-on with the project, making posters, monitoring waste-sorting in the lunchroom, and taking organic waste out to the compost pile every day.
Working in a conservative community, Onalaska Middle School teacher and Green Team leader Deborah Richardson has exemplified the characteristics of a Green Medalist. She fearlessly leads her community in environmental actions like invasive species removal; effectively includes families and administrators in discussions about climate science and epidemiology; and faces opposition with resilience, grace, and solid data.
Through her role with a Clark County Public Health sustainability program, Michelle Sanow has been an invaluable ally and on-the-ground partner to EarthGen for years. Sanow has extended the reach of EarthGen programs helping Clark County earn more EarthGen school certifications than any other county in Washington state. A staunch community advocate, Sanow appreciates the unique assets and challenges of each community she serves. Using her community-building and problem-solving skills, Sanow has connected students and schools with the resources they need to not only become EarthGen certified but to grow into environmental leaders.
Rachel Stendahl has worked tirelessly to include incarcerated students in meaningful science education. For detainees at the Lewis and Thurston County Detention Centers, science education has often been limited to random worksheet packets. Stendahl overcame bureaucratic challenges to establish a climate-science program that gets students out of their cells and into the greenhouse for hands-on, place-based learning that is as personally meaningful as it is educational.
In a year that felt unlike any other, Nancy Stoy’s resilience and ability to provide continuity for her Green Team was priceless. After years of supporting campus-based environmental action, Stoy didn’t miss a beat when the pandemic shifted schools to remote learning. She continued to guide her students through environmental learning projects, making Lacamas Lake Elementary one of the very first schools to earn the At-Home Action certification – their school’s fourth successful certification category!
Maria Antos, Linda Korum, and Andie Noye
These fifth-grade teachers joined the nascent Climate Justice League as a team. Maria Antos, Andie Noye, and Linda Korum have worked collaboratively to test and adapt new teaching techniques to create engaging climate science and climate justice lessons that are developmentally appropriate for their students, who are a bit younger than most of their cohorts’ students. Working together has allowed these three to accelerate the trial-and-error process of lesson development to generate truly effective science education for Tukes Valley Middle School.