June 25, 2008

Audubon Honors Teacher

FALMOUTH - Clifton resident Mary Evans was honored as the 2008 Educator of the Year by Maine Audubon at its annual meeting Wednesday at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center. The award is given annually to recognize significant contributions toward expanding adults' or children's knowledge of the natural world and conservation in Maine.

"Mary has a remarkable passion for environmental education," said Judy Markowsky, who has worked with Evans as director of Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden. "She has found many creative ways to connect her students with their environment - and her fellow teachers with environmental education."

Evans, who teaches fourth and fifth grades at Fairmount School in Bangor, has been a teacher for 24 years.

Over that time, her innovative lessons have taught her students by example of our connections and responsibilities to the environment. A small sampling of projects includes raising and releasing salmon, exploring forests to map wildlife habitats, and stenciling storm drains to make people think twice about water pollution.

Behind the scenes, she has made sure ecology has an important place in the science curriculums she wrote for Bangor schools, helped Markowsky develop the "Secrets of the Forest" nature walk program, and has taught fellow teachers about ways to include natural surroundings in their classrooms.

"My overall goal, and I'm quoting Rachel Carson, is to 'inspire a sense of wonder' in my students. I want them to be awed," Evans said. "It may sound a little cliched, but my way of trying to save the planet is by teaching the next generation of advocates for the environment."

At the awards presentation, Maine Audubon also honored attorney William Plouffe of Freeport, volunteer John Tatko of Willimantic and former legislator Horace A. "Hoddy" Hildreth of Falmouth for their outstanding support of Maine Audubon's work.

Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine's wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation and action. For more information, visit www.maineaudubon.org.

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