PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – One Pulaski County teacher is being recognized for her efforts to bring nature into the classroom.
Carley Pavan was selected as a Harmony Hero for helping her students create a sensory nature trail that highlights different monarch species and pollinators found in the trails.
The Harmony Hero Award Program, a program a part of EarthKind’s 2021 Year of the Monarch national initiative, recognizes one K-12 teacher each month. To be recognized, teachers must be committed to including eco-education initiatives into their curriculum to help students get more connected to nature.
When thinking of a way to bring eco-education into her curriculum, Pavan felt as if a sensory nature trail would be a good way to help students deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we came back to school, students were feeling burnt out, constantly staring at screens, we weren’t doing a whole lot of hands-on learning which is what we do in the Agricultural department,” Pavan said.
Pavan wanted to make sure that all of her students would have a chance to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Her students helped design and create an ADA-compliant raised garden bed so that someone in a wheelchair can access the garden and have the plants be at chest view.
“It’s meant to serve the purpose of education for all,” Pavan said. “That might be someone who has a mobile impairment, a visual impairment or an intellectual impairment.”
Each recognized teacher will receive complimentary in-service training from an entomologist on IPM practices for their school and sustainable product essentials for eco-education and outdoor adventures.
Teachers who are recognized will also be considered for the grand prize which will send one teacher and three guests on an all-expense-paid trip to Mexico in March 2022 to visit the Kingdom of Monarchs habitat.
Pavan’s efforts have served as an inspiration to young students and have helped them become in harmony with nature. Her Harmony Hero video can be found here: