The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) named Lower School inGen Studio teacher Vanessa Boone as the recipient of its 2022-23 Conservation Teacher of the Year grant.
With her winning proposal, "Birds in Georgia’s Backyard: Design, Engineering and Literacy," Vanessa will help fifth grade students learn about the birds that live in Georgia’s Piedmont, the challenges they face, and the benefits of conservation efforts.
Students will use tips from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch and a 3D modeling program to design birdhouses. After honing their prototypes and finalizing their designs, they will use a laser printer to create the custom pieces. Once assembled, students will collaborate with Georgia Audubon to place the birdhouses in Standing Peachtree Park. Managed by the City of Atlanta and situated along the Chattahoochee River, this public area is steeped in Native American history.
The Georgia DNR credited Vanessa's proposal for its "solid learning objectives, cross-curricular creativity, and hands-on STEM activities."
“I think it's really important for today's learners to understand the importance of caring for and protecting our environment and species,” Vanessa says. “Students learn best by doing, so I'm excited for our students to experience Georgia's wildlife in such a hands-on way!"
The annual award goes to a third through fifth grade public or private school teacher in Georgia who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences. Funding is provided by The Environmental Resources Network, or TERN, friends group of the DNR Wildlife Conservation Section.