Onaway educator wins national award

ONAWAY – A United States Department of Agriculture employee has been recognized as one of five outstanding educators across the nation.

Maureen Stine, who works at the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Onaway Field Office, has been named an outstanding educator by Project Learning Tree, she said. She’s being honored for her work with students to teach them about natural resources conservation, as well as with teachers to help with their professional development.

Project Learning Tree is part of the American Forest Foundation, aimed at teaching kids about environmental issues and using science to address these problems. The organization has recognized teachers it considers to be outstanding since 1994. As part of her recognition, Stine will get a trip to the PLT International Coordinators Conference, where she and four others to receive the award will be honored at an awards luncheon.

Along with her part-time job with the NRCS, Stine also volunteers with a number of groups that work in the tip of the Lower Peninsula, she said. This includes the Northeast Michigan hub of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and Getting Kids Outdoors. She serves on the leadership team of the former and co-chairs the latter.

“During the day I help farmers with conservation management, and during the weekend I teach kids about natural resources conservation,” she said. “I have this dual life going on.”

This is the first time in Stine’s 17-year career working with teachers and children that she’s been recognized for her efforts, she said.

“It’s exciting and I’m humbled by it,” she said. “There’s so many people doing good work across Michigan in our field. I’m just excited to be thought of.”

Stine was nominated by Ada Takacs, the Michigan Project Learning Tree Coordinator. She picked Stein because of the considerable work she does not only educating large amounts of children, but in training other educators as well.

“She actually teaches teachers to roll out our programming,” she said. “She’s been real instrumental in the growth of our programming over the years.”

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.