Robin Coutts, Science Teacher at Powhatan School, receives the Conservation Education Teacher of the Year Award
Powhatan School is pleased to announce that Robin Houck Coutts, Science Teacher and NEAL (Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning) Coordinator was chosen for Virginia’s Conservation Education Teacher of the Year Award in Elementary Education.
Robin has worked as a science and math teacher at Powhatan School for four years and as Powhatan’s NEAL Coordinator for three years. NEAL’s mission is to bring students outside in the natural world and to bring the natural world indoors to our students. By using this educational lens, all subjects and topics can be taught beyond the traditional walls of a classroom in a building.
Robin has a passion for nature study. She connects with her students by designing lessons that capture their interest, motivating them to question and creatively problem solve. Her lessons are hands-on and lab- based or field-based, so students feel that they are real scientists while in her class. Robin also invites resource specialists to her classes to speak to students about their work or area of expertise. Her goal is to make learning “real” for her students. Robin will be recognized at the LFSWCD Annual Awards banquet on November 8 at Kernstown Battlefield and at the VASWCD Annual Meeting in Roanoke, Virginia on December 3 where she will receive a certificate and a $250 prize to be used for her classroom.
The Crocker Conservancy & NEAL
At Powhatan, students have easy access to the outdoors and are using our campus, including the addition of the Crocker Conservancy, to map trails, read or write nature poems, adopt trees and square meters for observation of changes, record data in journals, run and walk the trails, and raise trout for release in the stream. We are continually using the lens of NEAL as we create, amend, and reflect upon our curriculum in all areas. The Crocker Conservancy is the 47-acres located in the back of our campus that allows for broaden into wetland habitats, warm season grass and wild flower fields and hardwood forests. What a wonderful learning venue for our students and faculty and it is just a step beyond our classroom doors. Many schools much travel hours to enjoy this type of resource, we simply walk past the playground.