Congratulations to our first class of Educator Innovation Award winners! We are thrilled to recognize the following teachers who, no matter what subject they teach, effectively used Bow Seat programming in their classrooms to educate their students about the threats facing our oceans and watersheds, and to empower them to be stewards of our blue planet. Thank you for your commitment and passion!
Medomak Valley High School (Waldoboro, ME)
For the past 12 years, Krisanne’s personal art practice has focused on water quality. Knowing that our lives depend on the health of the ocean, she began a conversation about climate change in her art classrooms and found that no other teachers were addressing the subject. Krisanne developed the “Gulf of Maine: Dare to Care” curriculum to teach students how to use art to make a difference, specifically in ocean advocacy. When she offered her Studio Arts class the choice to work on Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest for an entire quarter and then submit their work to the competition, the students voted unanimously to do so! They learned how to make accurate scientific illustrations of endangered Gulf of Maine marine animals, then created slumped recycled glass renditions of their creatures, which will be a part of a display traveling from the town hall to local libraries to elementary schools.
“Using art to educate people, especially young people, gives me hope for this planet. For the past five years, I’ve taught about climate change through art because no one else seemed to be teaching it. In my 25 years of teaching, never before have I had students so impassioned, empowered, and empathetic.”
Ernest S. McBride Sr. High School (Long Beach, CA)
Laura’s unit “The Power of the Word” encourages her Spanish for Spanish Speakers students to use their bilingualism to promote positive changes in their community. She linked this curricular goal with the objective of Bow Seat’s Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition and focused the unit on affecting change on the marine environment. Laura’s students wrote bilingual stories about marine debris prevention and read them to local elementary school students. Laura’s students then selected their favorite story and developed it into a script for a stage play, ultimately performing it at a community event presented by the local aquarium.
“I believe that the real goal of education is to empower students with knowledge, sensitivity, and courage to act, reform, and contribute to the world they live in. Sometimes one image, one film, or one poem can spark the creative minds of our youth—Bow Seat’s program motivates students everywhere to direct their talents into creating positive changes for the betterment of all.”
English Language Arts Teacher
Mill Pond School (Westborough, MA)
As a sponsor of a student winner several years ago, Stephanie saw first-hand how participating in Bow Seat’s Contest emboldened her student to become a vocal environmentalist in his community. Stephanie wanted to give her students the same empowering experience this year, so she launched her “Teen Activist: Make the World a Better Place” unit using Bow Seat’s program and resources. Following a two-month research and writing process, students created multimedia books that they presented to their school community at the end of the academic year.
“Our young generation is inundated with an overwhelming task of protecting their planet from plastic pollution, a warming planet, and an ever-increasing rate of extinction of flora and fauna around the globe. Bow Seat offered an avenue for my students to express, to process, and to take action! But most importantly, Bow Seat gave my students hope that they can make a difference!”
Newark Charter Junior/Senior High School (Newark, DE)
As a scientist and daughter of an artist, Tami learned from a young age how science and art can naturally pair and support each other. When she created her Project-Based Learning Marine Science course, she wanted to provide a creative outlet to students, so she integrated Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest into her curriculum to give them ideas, inspiration, and motivation. Students are required to create an art project for their pollution unit that illustrates what they learned and that helps educate others.
“My entire Project Based Learning curriculum allows students to show their understanding in a variety of ways, but incorporating creativity was daunting. Bow Seat made it easy and allowed me to see a side of my students that I would never have seen otherwise.”
Visual Art Teacher
Redhill School (Sandton, South Africa)
In 2016, a holiday to the coast of her drought-stricken country motivated Marisa to make a personal pledge to educate youth about environmental issues, thus beginning her connection with Bow Seat. This year, her 11th grade students created two projects for the Ocean Awareness Contest: a piece of artwork and a digital project that resulted in biodegradable pencil cases. Her 9th and 10th grade students created T-shirts and wearable art, which they modeled at the school’s annual fashion show. The 9th graders are also creating artwork to raise awareness of the problems of single-use plastic, which will be printed as labels on glass water jugs that are replacing plastic water bottles at their school.
“It has been both exciting and rewarding to see the students take ownership of the process, while also experiencing the relevance of art outside the classroom or gallery. The Contest encouraged the making of significant connections: to each other, to the environment, and to the process of creative collaboration. What an incredible journey it has been—we are far more environmentally conscious and aware of the power of art as a result.”
Grand Ledge High School (Grand Ledge, MI)
While trying to find a way to teach her students how to write scientific journalism articles, Shari continued to return, time and again, to news surrounding climate change. She recognized that her Midwestern town was a more conservative area, so she sought a multi-modal way to share the issue with skeptical students that gave them an opportunity for freedom of expression. Next year, Shari plans to work with the Art teacher to conduct a joint brainstorming session with the students.
“I encourage students to engage with topics that will most affect their future lives. I don’t believe that teaching scientific informational text should be the role of only physical science teachers—all educators who are concerned with the fate of the planet should be involved in informing students about the global shift in our atmosphere. Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest is one unique and exciting way to do that.”