Lakeland, FL (Nov. 2, 2019) – Florida Project Learning Tree (FL PLT) recognized Suzette Gagnon, Christ the King Catholic School STEM Coordinator as the 2019 Educator of the Year at the annual FL PLT professional development conference, “Growing Green Careers,” held in Lakeland, FL November 1-3, 2019.
Each year Project Learning Tree (PLT) recognizes and awards an educator who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to developing students’ awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment, building their skills and ability to make informed decisions, and encouraging them to take personal responsibility for sustaining the environment and our quality of life that depends on it.
Suzette Gagnon has nearly 20 years of science teaching experience and started her environmental and “tree” education several years ago after attending the Florida Forestry Teachers’ Tour. Suzette’s passion is to find a connection between conservation and the extensive industrial and business needs of her community.
These experiences led her to organize an annual “Forestry” unit for 4th graders that includes hands on outdoor programs and PLT lessons. Suzette also created an outdoor classroom at her school (approximately 7 acres of forest) that is used by all K-8 classes for lessons related to the environment and wetlands. She coordinates an environmental science center at her school that houses 6 native and non-native animal species for educational purposes, as well as full room mural representative of Strawberry Creek. Suzette has sponsored two school Green Apple Day of Service projects that have won project of the year, and she regularly invites guest speakers and plans extensive field trips (Jacksonville Zoo, St. Johns Riverkeeper tour, etc.) to help students have a realistic understanding of our unique Florida environment and the ways they can be good stewards.
Last May, the school had its first school wide PLT training for 25 teachers, and in September, Christ the King Catholic School became a Florida PLT School.
About Project Learning Tree®
Project Learning Tree ® is the environmental education program of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and is sponsored in Florida by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation. is an affiliate of the national environmental education program Project Learning Tree, an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. Florida Project Learning Tree is a part of the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) in Gainesville, FL. Florida PLT is one of 50 state programs, a part of Project Learning Tree’s network of more than 500,000 educators.
Project Learning Tree ® (PLT) is versatile and interdisciplinary environmental education program with an award-winning curriculum that teaches youth about trees, forests, and the environment and that develops students’ awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment, builds their skills and ability to make informed decisions, and encourages them to take personal responsibility for sustaining the environment and our quality of life that depends on it. To find out more about Florida Project Learning Tree, visit https://programs.ifas.ufl.edu/plt/ and for more information on Project Learning Tree, visit https://www.plt.org/.