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2020 marks ten years since Vivian Bowles became a member of KAEE, though she has been an EE enthusiast for so much longer. Since then, she has told numerous groups—from PEEC students to her fellow Board of Director members to workshop participants—that when she attended her first KAEE conference a decade ago, she knew she had “found her tribe.”

Her tribe has certainly benefited from that relationship, and perhaps never more so than this year, when Vivian unhesitatingly agreed to team up with Brittany Wray and Melinda Wilder to correlate more than one hundred Project Learning Tree and Project WILD activities to the NGSS. This year, she also stepped in as KAEE’s treasurer, and she continued her role as an instructor for two Professional Environmental Educator Certification workshops.

“Vivian has been an invaluable part of what we do at KEEC,” says Wesley Bullock, environmental education specialist at the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC). “She was named Teacher of the Year for our Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools program in 2016 for her outstanding work with Kit Carson Elementary students. She has gone from graduate of the Professional Environmental Educator Certification program to our newest instructor. And she was integral to the revisions of the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan. We appreciate her so much, and we are so glad she is being celebrated with this award!”

Vivian herself is not only a certified Kentucky Professional Environmental Educator but reached “Master Environmental Educator” status last year. She is also a trained “Projects” facilitator and frequently leads workshops in Projects WET, WILD, and Learning Tree. After her retirement from Madison County Schools, she was recruited to do STEM enrichment with first- and second-grade students and their teachers on a part-time basis and has developed and teaches NGSS-style units of study at Kit Carson Elementary.

In 2014, Vivian was named the Elementary Science Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, and two years later, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The next year, she received our own M.K. Dickerson Outstanding Educator Award.

“Vivian has always been a supporter and practitioner of environmental education,” says Billy Bennett, executive director. “She is an invaluable resource for students of all ages in the Commonwealth.”

Anyone who has been fortunate enough to attend one of her workshops or sit on a board with her knows that Vivian is also one of the warmest, most caring, and most enthusiastic educators out there. She motivates others to listen, to watch, to think, to read, and to teach. She found “her people” ten years ago, she says, at a KAEE conference, and at that conference, “her people” gained an EE leader, an EE champion, and an EE all-star.


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