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Dutch Fork Elementary teacher named SC Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator of the Year

Irmo, SC – Dutch Fork Elementary School resident scientist Amy Umberger has been named the 2017 South Carolina Project Learning Tree (PLT) Jerry L. Shrum Outstanding Educator of the Year. She was selected by the South Carolina PLT Steering Committee.

“I am humbled to receive this recognition as there are so many others here in our wonderful state that are equally deserving,” Umberger told the South Carolina Forestry Commission. “It is such an honor to represent Dutch Fork Elementary School as the 2017 SC PLT Outstanding Educator of the Year!”

With a love for nature, Umberger assists teachers and students with environmental projects at Dutch Fork Elementary. Her goal is to develop a community of environmentally responsible citizens and teach sustainability through her daily actions.

“As an environmental educator, I value the principles that PLT is founded on,” Umberger said. “Not only has this curriculum provided me with a wealth of experience that I can provide for students and teachers that I work with, but it also has helped form my own beliefs of how humans impact this planet.”

Umberger works diligently with staff and natural resource professionals to achieve Green Steps Schools certification for Dutch Fork Elementary by organizing student-run projects, including gardening, creation of wildlife habitats and a nature trail, composting, water conservation and protection and recycling. She incorporates PLT experiences and engagements with student environmental clubs and is working to develop a school-wide environmental literacy plan that integrates project-based learning models from PLT, Project WET and Project Wild.

“It is hard to put into words what Mrs. Umberger means to our school,” said Dutch Fork Elementary principal Julius Scott. “She truly defines what our magnet theme, Academy of Environmental Sciences, is all about. She has made our students innovators when it comes to making our world a better place, and we are so lucky to have her here. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor!”

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