Bowling Green State University alumna Amy Boros '95 is presented the 2022 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators in Washington by Rosemary Enobakhare, associate administrator for Public Engagement and Environmental Education at the Environmental Protection Agency.
BGSU alumna, longtime educator honored with presidential award for creative approach to environmental education
Amy Boros ’95 revels in providing students with hands-on experiences in the school’s native prairie
Learning about the environment from a textbook doesn’t have quite the same impact as getting outside and experiencing it firsthand, especially when the lessons involve dirt, bugs and plants with a target audience of fifth- and sixth-grade students.
Elementary science teacher and Bowling Green State University alumna Amy Boros ’95 has long subscribed to that philosophy, and her efforts to provide students with creative hands-on experiences garnered her the 2022 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.
Boros, a teacher at Hull Prairie Intermediate School in Perrysburg, was among 11 educators across the country to receive the award, administered by the White House Council on Environmental Quality in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency.
“I’m passionate about conservation and environmental awareness, and I think it is important to help others see the value in protecting and cleaning up our environment,” she said. “It is an incredible honor to be recognized for my work in environmental education with elementary students.”
Boros has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University, now known as a Bachelor of Science in middle childhood education, and has been an educator for 27 years. She said the strong foundation BGSU provided has been integral to her career.
“I was extremely well prepared to start my first teaching job and have continued to use those skills throughout my career,” Boros said. “BGSU helped me to grow as a learner and a leader, both of which I continue today.”
The Presidential Award for Environmental Educators is in recognition of Boros’ innovative approaches to environmental education and her role as a charter member of Project PRAIRIE, an initiative of the Toledo Zoo to use urban prairies as living labs.
As a charter member, Boros helped design a two-acre parcel as a native prairie before Hull Prairie Intermediate School opened in 2017. It was one of the first two schools in northwest Ohio to receive a prairie as part of the program. There are now 21 schools in the area with prairies on their property.
Students in Boros’ classes routinely use the outdoor living laboratory to observe and collect data on plant and insect biodiversity, the atmosphere and soil. They report the collected data to participatory science projects such as Bumble Bee Watch, Monarch Watch and NASA’s GLOBE Observer.
“The kids absolutely love being out in the prairie and taking ownership of the space in positive ways,” Boros said.
Boros has also seen her lessons in conservation and environmental awareness move beyond the classroom. Her “observe, don’t disturb” mantra of teaching students to be kind to nature inspired students to speak up when their peers were not modeling that behavior at recess.
One student turned a portion of her family’s backyard into a “pocket prairie,” using native plants to attract pollinators and monarchs.
“I love to share my passion for nature with my students,” Boros said. “If everyone does a little part to improve our environment, big changes can happen.”
Updated: 08/11/2022 09:27AM