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SD Department of Education
May 2020  

  Cody among winners of President’s Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

Edmunds Central School District teacher Spencer Cody is a recipient of the 2020 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.

Cody is one of only seven educators across the country receiving this year’s award from the EPA and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for outstanding K-12 teachers who integrate environmental and place-based, experiential learning into school curricula. The award honors recipients’ leadership and commitment to environmental education and environmental stewardship.

“Mr. Cody’s passion for teaching is not only developing critical STEM skills and environmental awareness, it is inspiring and improving the lives of his students,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin.

Cody has taken students to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Mississippi to work with scientists collecting data on marine life in the Pascagoula Bay. He has also taken students on a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to work with inter-tidal and kelp forest specialists and visited the Salinas Valley to learn about innovative organic farming practices to decrease dependence on chemical applications.

Established by the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators seeks to recognize, support, and bring public attention to the outstanding environmental projects performed by innovative teachers who go beyond textbook instruction to incorporate methods and materials that utilize creative experiences and enrich student learning. CEQ, in partnership with EPA, administers this award to encourage and nationally honor outstanding elementary and secondary teachers who integrate environmental and place-based, experiential learning into school curricula. The program provides funding to help support educator awardee schools in their environmental education work and provides funding for the teacher’s professional development.

This year, seven educators received the 2020 PIAEE and three were recognized with an honorable mention distinction. Winning educators demonstrated leadership by integrating environmental education into multiple subjects and using topics such as healthy school environments, environmentally friendly agricultural practices, reducing ocean litter, gardening, recycling, or STEM to teach sustainability to K-12 students.

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