Teacher Named Environmental Educator for 2003

February 17, 2004
Jay H. Foster, an earth science teacher at Forest Oak Middle School, has been named 2003 Environmental Educator of the Year by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). He was honored along with two Conservationists of the Year during a January 21 ceremony.

The honors recognize extraordinary contributions to the effort to Save the Bay and are awarded annually by the CBF, the nation's largest environmental organization. The recipients received bronze osprey busts by celebrated Bay sculptor David H. Turner.

Foster has been an earth and physical science teacher in Montgomery County for the past 25 years and the coordinator of CBF's Bay Schools Project at Forest Oak Middle School for three of them.

His coworkers said that Foster has changed the culture of Forest Oak by involving students, teachers, and parents in projects that promote environmental stewardship, reduce nutrient pollution, create and restore habitat, and encourage Bay-friendly land use. Those projects include constructing and maintaining two miles of trails and an outdoor classroom, establishing four dozen stream monitoring sites, planting native trees and shrubs to enhance habitat, writing guides for the trails, creating two rain gardens on campus, and growing and planting underwater Bay grasses.

His enthusiasm and expertise have had a profound effect on his students, the CBF said, leading one student to comment, “The teacher who has made the biggest difference in my life is Mr. Foster. … [he] has changed me a lot. I want to have a career helping to save the Bay by cleaning up the pollution in it and around it.”

The Environmental Educator of the Year award was established in 1997 to recognize an individual in the field of education who has contributed significantly to the understanding of the Bay ecosystem through an academic program.

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