Earth Force and GM Recognize Teachers for Environmental Education

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Five Recipients from Across the Country Accept Chevrolet GREEN Educator Awards

Earth Force and the General Motors Foundation announced five winners of the Chevrolet GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) Educator Award. It recognizes educators who integrate environmental education into their school or community curriculums.

“These teachers represent the best of our education system,” said Vivian Pickard, president of the GM Foundation. “By extending their environmental knowledge to tomorrow’s leaders and problem solvers, they help grow our nation’s culture of sustainability and good business practices that strive to reduce our impact on the environment. The winners are:

  •     Robert Thomson of Ossineke, Mich. – Thomson’s classes, at Sanborn Elementary School, have worked with numerous partners to learn about the Thunder Bay watershed. The students have performed water quality testing, macro-invertebrate studies, learned about and experimented with zebra mussels, and created three Remote Operated Vehicles, or ROVs
  •     Pamela Wallentiny of Columbia, Md. – Wallentiny has integrated sustainability themes into her developmental English class. Throughout the semester, students read books and articles about sophisticated topics related to sustainability, including environmental conservation, storm water management, integrated pest management, and green building practices. Students in her class engage in service learning experiences focused on sustainable agriculture in order to tie the content of reading material directly to real-life experiences.
  •     Laura Lee Lienk of Monterey Bay, Cali. – Lienk is the co-director of the Watershed Institute at CSU Monterey Bay. Simultaneously, she is the Director of Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project (of the Watershed Institute) and the Coordinator of Service Learning in the Applied Science and Technology at CSUMB. Presently, Lienk is coordinating a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) academic learning community.
  •     Nita Gonzalez of Denver, Colo. – Gonzales is the President of the Escuela Tlatelolco, an ECE-12th grade program. The program uses a cutting edge environmental education curriculum that incorporates environmental education and social change work. She partners with indigenous tribes throughout the state to teach Escuela students about their responsibility to the Earth and alternative perspectives on resource management.
  •     Les Pace of Wagoner, Okla. – As the President of Pace Applied Technologies Inc., Pace has helped Tulsa and Oklahoma City Public Schools learn about energy audits and has helped save thousands of dollars with his expert guidance, careful facilitation of learning, and caring sustainable contact with students and educators who have crossed his path.

Earth Force will announce five additional winners in December. Recipients will be featured on, along with their teaching tools and methods for getting students involved.

“These teachers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to inspire and support their students in taking action to improve their communities,” said Lisa Bardwell, president and CEO of Earth Force. “Each of them has done an exemplary job of incorporating environmental awareness and civic action into formal instruction.”

Supported by the GM Foundation, the Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award honors K-12 classroom teachers, higher education faculty and informal community-based instructors. Nominations can be made on the Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award website.

GM GREEN is a partnership between General Motors, community-based organizations in GM communities and the nonprofit organization Earth Force. Through the program, young people are challenged to be active community citizens, tackling water quality issues with hands-on science. More than 8,500 students participate every year, and this number will continue to grow as schools see the benefits of watershed-based education and problem solving.

About the GM Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation had donated hundreds of millions of dollars to deserving American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit

About Earth Force
Earth Force is passionate about young people finding their voice while assuming leadership roles in solving local environmental problems. Earth Force envisions a nation where young people from all walks of life are actively making positive change to the environment at their schools, in their neighborhoods, and in partnership with their communities. Earth Force works to build partnerships across the country, including GM communities. For more information about Earth Force, please visit


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