The 2017 Conservation Teacher of the Year Program has concluded. Check back next year to make a nomination.

Conservation Teacher of the Year

The Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District is planning to recognize outstanding conservation education efforts of teachers within our District.  We need nominations!  We are seeking your help to find those teachers that are doing an outstanding job with conservation education! 

Elementary (grades K-6) and secondary (grades 7-12) educators will be recognized in separate categories. All teachers in public, parochial and private schools in Page and Rockingham Counties and the City of Harrisonburg are eligible to be nominated for the award.  Nominations will be reviewed by the SVSWCD and a winner in each category will be recognized locally and will receive $100 gift certificate for education material.  Additionally, each local winner will be nominated by the SVSWCD for consideration of the State’s Teacher of the Year Awards Program to be eligible to win a State Teacher of the Year certificate, plaque and $250.00 provided by the VASWCD Educational Foundation and any other awards or recognition the state deems appropriate.

To be eligible for the award:

  • Educators must be teaching full-time in the classroom
  • Teachers who are SVSWCD Directors are not eligible, but Associate Directors are eligible
  • Team teachers are eligible, but awards will only be made to the designated leader.

Any teacher who meets the eligibility requirements may be nominated. Teachers can nominate themselves, or someone else in the District may nominate them.

Previous Conservation Teacher of the Year Winners

2017 Conservation Teacher of the Year Winners

K-6 grade: Autumn Pequginot-Lacey Springs Elementry School
7-12 grade: Kristin Brill-Luray High School

2016 Conservation Teacher of the Year Winners

K-6 grade: Susan Eckenrode-John Wayland Elementary School

susan-eckenrode-plaqueSusan has been an elementary instructor for 21 years.  During her career as a second grade teacher, Susan has found many ways to incorporate conservation into her curriculum.  She has been incorporating Trout in the Classroom into her school for many years, raising trout and releasing them into North River.  Susan has involved her students in caring for the multiple school gardens, taught them about recycling, and has helped coordinate an Earth Day Celebration for the entire school.

Susan has partnered with many organization and groups to foster her conservation curriculum.  She has had students from Turner Ashby High School come teach her students about erosion,  worked with Rockingham 4-H to do Ag in the Classroom activities with her second grade class, and partners with the Town of Bridgewater to have her students plant and maintain butterfly gardens in their local parks.

Susan shares her enthusiasm about conservation with more than just her second grade students; she helps plan school wide field trips to local parks where students learn about conservation with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Wildlife Center.  She has also been very active in introducing new environmental education into John Wayland Elementary School; as a result John Wayland has received the VA Naturally School Award for the past 16 years.

7-12 grade: Rebecca Holloway-East Rockingham High Schoolrebecca-holloway-plaque

Rebecca has been an Agriculture Education Instructor for 13 years, focusing in the areas of Horticulture, Ecology, and Ag. Power.  During her career, Rebecca has found many ways to incorporate conservation into her curriculum.  She regularly incorporates water quality testing in her classes, she coordinates exciting field trips for her students with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and has worked with the Rockingham County Extension Office to provide the Private Pesticide Applicator’s Certification program for her classes.

In addition, Rebecca’s students annually participate in the SVSWCD Local Envirothon competition, covering the topics of aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current issue.  She has worked with the SVSWCD to cover the core Envirothon topics in the classroom and has also taken her students to workshops sponsored by the SVSWCD to further their foundational knowledge about the Envirothon topics.

Rebecca shares her enthusiasm for conservation education to others.  She has worked with Riverbend Elementary School to grow plants with second grade students, start a pallet garden and work on their butterfly garden.  She supports the efforts of other teachers and encourages them to develop environmentally focused programs.