Educator of the Year

We are proud of our Project Learning Tree Educators in Michigan!

PLT of Michigan tries to recognize outstanding educators who work with Project Learning Tree whenever possible.

One way is to nominate them for the National Outstanding Educator Awards. If you would like to nominate your peer,

click here for the nomination form.

Michigan Outstanding Educator nominations are reviewed by the Michigan PLT Advisory Council. Top candidate are referred to the National office for consideration. Each year, these Outstanding Educators receive a trip to the PLT International Coordinators Conference (held throughout the country) where they are honored at an awards luncheon and have an opportunity to share their PLT experiences.

Tell us about your favorite PLT educator today!

Educator of the Year

The Michigan Outstanding Educator of the year exemplifies what PLT is all about. These educators come from varied backgrounds and can do a lot of great work - like conducting programs, training teachers, spearheading conservation programs and invigorating their community. Read some success stories here.

2017 - None

2016 - None

2015 - Jennifer Edwards, teacher at Ronald Brown Academy, Detroit

2014 - Kathy Yeloushan, Education Coordinator for Renaissance High School, Clarkston Community Schools

2013 - *Maureen Stine, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - also recognized as a National Outstanding Educator by PLT

2012 - Tracy Page, DeVries Nature Conservancy

2011 - Joan Chadde, Michigan Technological University

2010 - Melissa Eldridge, Ionia Conservation District

2009 - Mike Mansour, Hawk Woods Nature Center

2000 - Thomas Hodgson

1999 - *Casey Harris - also recognized as a National Outstanding Educator by PLT

1998 - Helen Stenvig

1995 - Janet Fulton, Diane Walker

Michigan's Outstanding Educator Selected as a 2013 National Project Learning Tree "Outstanding Educator"

Maureen Stine, a conservation educator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Michigan, was named one of five Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree.

Stine works in the NRCS Onaway field office under a U.S. Farm Bill program to help private landowners in six counties in northern lower Michigan restore and manage healthy forests. She also volunteers on the USDA Earth Team, which provides environmental education to children K-12 and trains teachers to use environmental education with their students.

"I am tremendously honored to have been nominated by the Department of Natural Resources for this PLT award," Stine said. "Park interpretation was a fun way to spend the first half of my career, and now serving the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has enabled me to achieve the professional certifications and trainings needed to implement sound forestry management practices balanced with conservation education. Project Learning Tree is an outstanding international organization that epitomizes the significance of interpreting various forestry disciplines holistically for the benefit of our nation's youth."

Among her many conservation activities, Stine is the Michigan Green Schools program liason for Cheboygan, Otsego and Presque Isle counties, co-chair of the Getting Kids Outdoors Northern Michigan Coalition advisory committee, and a member of the Leadership Team for the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative.

Stine uses PLT activities and service-learning opportunities to provide meaningful experiences for students of all ages with an emphasis on trees, soils and water quality issues. She recently guided 125 students on the Cheboygan River to test temperature and pH, gather macroinvertebrates and remove monofilament fishing line from the river banks. The students are now working on a public awareness campaign and installing trash receptacles and interpretive signage to educate others about the dangers to wildlife from improperly discarded fishing line.

"Maureen goes above and beyond to help Project Learning Tree in any way she can," said Michigan PLT Coordinator Ada Takacs. "She helps make connections across the state, facilitates workshops, presents at state and national conferences and is also a mentor with educators in her area."

Stine graduated from Southern Illinois University with a B.S. in forestry and outdoor recreation resources management. When she moved to Michigan 10 years ago, she began to establish close working relationships with school districts in the northern Lower Peninsula. She conducts PLT workshops that help teachers easily and effectively teach about the environment, often in outdoor, hands-on situations. She also works with the Junior Master Gardener program, 4-H, several Conservation Districts' Master Naturalist Programs, the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education, and the National Association for Interpretation. She was invited to join the Michigan STEM Partnership as well.

Stine was honored at PLT's 27th International Coordinators' Conference, April 29-May 2, in Point Clear, Alabama. She was also invited to attend the World Forestry Center's International Conference.

PLT Oustanding Educators are selected for their commitment to environmental education, exemplary use of PLT and exceptional teaching skills.