Earth Force and GM Recognize Teachers for Environmental Education

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Five Recipients Accept Chevrolet GREEN Educator Awards

These teachers represent the best of our education system, extending their environmental knowledge to tomorrow’s leaders and problem solvers.

Earth Force and the General Motors Foundation announced the first 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, extending their environmental knowledge to tomorrow’s leaders and problem solvers," said Vivian Pickard, President of the GM Foundation. “At GM, we’re committed to developing a culture of sustainability to help reduce our business’s environmental impact, and we appreciate other community leaders who share that same drive to foster eco-friendly action.”

The winners are:

Beverly Balash of Bluffton, Ind. – Balash, a science department team leader and teacher at Bluffton-Harrison Middle School, has led a decade-long research study of a local branch of the Wabash River with students, uncovering misconceptions of the river’s health and resulting in a longitudinal record of its quality. Balash worked with GM volunteers on the program for more than eight years.

Donald Hammond of Mount Morris, Mich. – As a science teacher at Beecher High School, Hammond led a two-year project with students to clean a nearby pond’s shoreline and develop an interactive nature trail and garden on the school’s grounds. He and his students produced documentary videos to exhibit their work.

Vaughn Smith of Milford, Mich. – As an environmental science teacher at Muir Middle School, Smith has been an active member of the GM GREEN program for five years. He helps empower youth by giving them an opportunity to engage in local environmental issues, providing them with firsthand experiences that science is real.

Cindy Tishue of Mansfield, Ohio – Tishue, a middle school science and language arts teacher at Discovery School, has made progress designing interdisciplinary course plans that engage students in inquiry-based science experiences and local service-learning opportunities. She has been part of the GM GREEN program in Mansfield for three years.

Dr. Terry Wilson of Bowling Green, Ky. – Wilson, Director of the Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability at Western Kentucky University, has devoted the majority of his career to teacher and leadership training in environmental education. As a partner with the GM GREEN program since 2004, Wilson has worked with local schools to conduct water quality investigations with the aid of GM employees and integrates service-learning and the Earth Force process into his pre-service and graduate teacher education courses.

Earth Force will announce five additional winners each month through 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.”

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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