As an Upper School biology teacher and sustainability coordinator, Dina Tucker gets her students engaged in projects that are, “exciting to them because they choose topics they want to explore. I make sure they stay focused and follow proper research methods, especially data collection. It can be challenging to take an idea and make it work as a testable project with a hypothesis, but at the end of it all the students are really proud because they can see the results of their hard work. And it is hard work, but it’s worth it.” Their hard work is already making them stand out as innovative leaders in the greater community.
Several of Dina’s biology students from last year won EcoRise Youth Innovations grants for their proposed improvements to St. Andrew’s; Joey Hersh ‘20 and Clifford Dunn ‘20 even had their video proposal selected by EcoRise to serve as a ‘best practices’ example for others (Read the full story in Crusader Magazine here).
Dina’s students in the Coalition for the Environment club have worked with local and national organizations as well. Over the summer, Jack Williams ‘19 participated in Student Conservation Corps & Congress, a week-long leadership training program held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center – the nation's top environmental training facility. Jack says, “Since there were so many states and countries represented, I felt proud to be one of the few Texas students and to act as a representative for St. Andrew's. I've cared about the Earth and our impact on the environment for as long as I can remember, so it was an easy choice to go.” Jack is now working on an action plan to propose for both St. Andrew’s campuses.
For her “demonstrated leadership in teaching sustainability, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship,” Dina has been named an EcoRise Teacher Ambassador for 2017-18. She is one of six ambassadors from across the country “who has demonstrated a commitment to the EcoRise core values of being leading-edge, building camaraderie, embracing integrity, practicing resilience, and cultivating gratitude.”
“Working closely with teachers who are not only skilled in teaching sustainability, but who can match their skill with an enduring passion for developing the next generation of problem solvers and leaders, is core to the mission of EcoRise,” says Gina LaMotte, Founder and Executive Director of EcoRise.
Dina and her fellow ambassadors will benefit from professional development training, priority access to new pilot programs and initiatives, and the chance to present at conferences on behalf of EcoRise. They will also provide ongoing feedback to the EcoRise staff that will drive improvements to EcoRise’s curriculum and school-based program.
Congratulations to Dina and her students who continue to serve as leaders and innovators in our community!
Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.