The Kutztown Borough Environmental Advisory Commission presented the 2017 EAC Environmental Stewardship Award to two Kutztown Middle School teachers Shelby Brett and Jennifer Wyland during the Kutztown Borough Council meeting on Dec. 19.
“The EAC works with the Borough of Kutztown to improve the state of the environment for the residents of Kutztown. In 2009, we developed an Environmental Stewardship Award to recognize individuals or groups who have made a commitment to preserving and promoting the environment of Kutztown,” said EAC Chair Jeri Carroll.
This year the EAC presented the award to 6th grade science teacher Shelby Brett and 7th grade science teacher Jennifer Wyland for their leadership in improving the native plant habitat around Kutztown Middle School and teaching students the importance of native plants to wildlife.
“Over the past 10 years they have worked diligently on several projects enhancing the environment around the middle school and to improve the educational experience of their students,” said Carroll.
Carroll said Brett and Wyland worked with Berks Nature to develop a management plan to improve the environmental stewardship of the school grounds. They obtained a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education grant that allowed them to plant a native plant garden along the school, restoring a stormwater basin. Students planted native plants, trees and shrubs to convert areas of the school lawn into wildlife habitat.
“Shelby and Jennifer have worked to install an environmental advocate in their students by involving them in hands-on outdoor activities that include planting native trees to improve the riparian buffer around the Saucony Creek and Borough wells and also removed invasive plants along the Saucony Trail, maintaining the native plant garden and conducting trash clean ups along the Saucony Creek,” said Carroll.
“The Borough of Kutztown is such a much better place to live because of your work,” said Borough Council President Kevin Snyder, thanking Brett and Wyland.
“We’re very honored by this,” said Brett. “Without Larry Lloyd’s help (from Berks Nature) much of this would not have come to fruition.”
Brett also expressed their gratitude to Borough workers who picked up bags of trash collected by students.
“We really appreciate all of the support,” she said.