Lee Newbury, former middle-school science and math teacher at Model Laboratory School, has been a strong advocate of— and practitioner of—environmentalism and environmental education for more than four decades.
Early in her career, Ms. Newbury taught in Florida, and she emphasized the role of the ocean in the local environment and as part of the global environment. She worked with students in a summer program that allowed them to focus on environmental issues, and she brought the concept of the program with her to Kentucky, adapting it to the local environment and its particular issues.
When she began her tenure at Model, she embraced the outdoor classroom, an area of the school campus dedicated to local flora and fauna. She, along with other science colleagues and some elementary teachers, focused on maintaining this area to allow students to have hands-on lessons with living specimens and to study the interaction of elements within an environment. In addition, Ms. Newbury created Wildside, an interactive unit for her middle-school students that asked each student to choose an animal to research and then present their information to their peers and to elementary students; the students would create costumes and dress as their chosen animals for the presentations, and they would present the information and answer questions. The project was very popular and helped students better understand their world.
Throughout her career as an educator, Ms. Newbury practiced what she preached. Not only did she teach about environmentalism, but she practiced it within her classroom as well, creating meta-lessons that reinforced her ideas. Lee Newbury has dedicated her life to educating kids about their world and their place in that world. She has constantly and consistently challenged her students to explore the world and to strive to make it a better place by preserving it.
“Besides my teaching and advocating for environmental issues,” she says, “it has been important to me to share my knowledge and leadership abilities in the area of environmental literacy.” She has done so in countless ways, including serving multiple terms on both the KAEE and Kentucky Science Teachers Association (KSTA) Boards; by facilitating workshops for pre-service teachers, non-formal and formal educators, and other citizen groups using a number of environmental curricula (Project Wild, Project WET, and more); creating and facilitating summer Envirowatch camps through EKU's Community Education Programs; and presenting on a variety of science related topics at the annual conferences of KAEE and KSTA.