Olympic Peninsula educator honored

  • Wed Jul 29th, 2020 3:23pm
  • News

Submitted by

Dr. Nancy Messmer

Many fine environmental educators work on the Olympic Peninsula. In diverse ways, they immerse learners in the natural world: observing details, learning systems, practicing scientific methods and forming the big picture.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day 2020, Dr. Nancy Messmer is initiating the Annual Olympic Peninsula Environmental Educator Award. Nicole Harris, Education Specialist with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, is the first honoree. In this position, she “plans and implements education activities for classrooms, field investigations, teacher workshops and presentations to local and regional organizations”. She hopes to inspire learners to be “stewards to our marine environment”. In her bio on the Sanctuary website, Nicole says “the best part is that the “classroom” is the beach.

On July 22 at Hollywood Beach, next to the Feiro Marine Life Center, Dr. Messmer and Roy Morris surprised Nicole as she met with colleagues, Jaqueline Laverdure and Mel Swick. They presented her with hearty thanks, a watermelon, and a 50th Anniversary Earth Day tee shirt.

Dr. Messmer is starting this annual recognition because there are many worthy educators working among us, dedicated to ongoing work in the field. They include Jill Silver, 1000 Year Institute, John Hunter-Forks High School Science teacher, Nicole Rasmussen-Biologist Quileute Tribe, Frank Hanson-Olympic Natural Resource Center, Julie Tennis-Pacific Education Institute and others.

Nicole Harris, 2020 Honoree, is responsible for education activities and implementing coastal beach cleanups. She dedicates herself to creative teaching and consistent bureaucratic work in diverse venues that include serving on the Steering Committee of the Washington Clean Coast Alliance, aka CoastSavers.org, and the Stop The Inflow Work Group to promote citizen science marine debris data collection.

Nicole is a good thinker and active team player. She is equally adept at deliberations around a conference table or Zoom online, as she is working with a group of students or teachers on a windy beach. Like the other admirable educators mentioned above, she perseveres over time, adding skills and relationships and impact. Kudos to 2020 Honoree, Nicole Harris.

Dr. Nancy Messmer is initiating the Annual Olympic Peninsula Environmental Educator Award to honor the work of experienced educators who “stick with it” and “do the work” over time. As a retired educator and researcher, who worked with experiential education and diverse schooling options, and as a volunteer in numerous natural resources endeavors, Dr. Messmer is hoping to shine a spotlight on creative, hard workers who make a difference. The award will be presented annually. If you have a nomination, please write to her at [email protected]