2020 Scholarship Grant Winners
Natural Habitat Adventures is honored to host these creative and environmentally engaged teachers on a January 2020 Kingdom of the Monarchs adventure in Mexico, where they'll witness the butterfly migration they have been teaching students about for years.
Beth and Dennis will experience firsthand this astounding natural phenomenon as millions of monarchs fly more than 3,000 miles from the northeast U.S. and Canada each winter to roost in Central Mexico’s fir-forested highlands. On three extended explorations into two different butterfly sanctuaries, they’ll learn all about the butterflies’ fascinating biology and behaviors.
Our scholarship winners are sure to make lasting personal memories on this journey while honing new teaching tools to heighten conservation awareness in their classrooms at home.
Kudos to these two teachers for their well-deserved awards, and for their role in promoting a future for the monarchs!
Beth Smith is a veteran educator, currently teaching sixth grade science and math at Childs Elementary School, coaching the robotics club, and serving as the STEM Fellow for her district in Bloomington, Indiana. She developed her school garden, expanding it over many seasons into multiple plots including a large vegetable garden, rain garden, prairie garden, vermiculture compost system and her personal favorite, a monarch milkweed garden. Students work in the garden during recess and after-school garden clubs. Monarch migration is Beth's favorite unit to teach, and each August, her students raise monarch butterflies while journaling about their development. They study the monarch’s biology, energy webs, milkweed/nectar needs and environmental concerns, then tag and release the adults. It’s Beth’s dream to find a tagged monarch in Mexico and notify the tagger that the butterfly migrated safely!
Dennis Foreman teaches 8th grade science at Zane Trace Middle School in Chillicothe, Ohio. A passionate environmental educator, he launched a wide-reaching recycling program in his school district and participates in the Ohio Energy Project, which provides curricula for his students to learn about energy conservation and incorporate energy-saving practices into their homes. Dennis also teaches the monarch lifecycle in the classroom, as students oversee each stage from egg to pupa to larvae to butterfly, then tag and release the monarchs. A teacher for more than 20 years, Dennis has also been a councilman in his small town for a dozen years, with a focus on sustainable regional development projects. He grew up in a rural Appalachian community, though he has ventured far afield since. Raised with a thirst for adventure, he has trekked all over Europe and toured around the U.S. and Europe as a drummer with various bands.