Every day is Earth day

The Concord Consortium’s Teacher Ambassador program commemorates our 25th anniversary by recognizing 25 outstanding teachers who have included our digital inquiry resources into their STEM classrooms. We congratulate them on their innovation and creativity.

Kerrie Snavely, Conestoga Valley Senior High School, Lancaster, PA

“My dad said I was born to teach,” says Kerrie Snavely.

She uses those instinctive skills to teach 10-12th grade traditional biology and supported biology and freshwater biology at Conestoga Valley Senior High School in Pennsylvania. Since 2015, she has been instrumental in developing Concord Consortium’s popular Model My Watershed program, which her students use to explore biotic and abiotic factors within their local watershed. “Students can actually see how their everyday life affects the watershed,” she explains.

Teacher Ambassador Kerrie Snavely

Kerrie enjoys anything outdoors. She likes to get her family and her students outside as much as possible. “My moto is ‘every day is Earth day.’” She’s fortunate, she says, to have a small “bay house” on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland on the Sassafras River where she can observe firsthand the probable negative effect of warming water temperatures (dead fish) and the positive effect of better stormwater management (clearer water). There’s a difference between learning about something from a photo or video and seeing it for yourself, she explains. “When you get students to a stream and they can hold the same critter they studied in the classroom, their faces light up. Nothing beats the WOW in their eyes.”

That WOW moment translated into practical action when a company proposed dumping wastewater into a local stream. Amazingly, Conestoga students have been collecting longitudinal data on their local waterways for over 20 years. So when Kerrie’s students presented evidence at a government hearing about the potential effects of the dumping, the data was so compelling and reliable, the students won the day and the stream was protected.

“I welcome any activity that can inspire my students to become good stewards of their watershed,” Kerrie explains. She hopes more teachers are able to attend workshops that show them how to adapt a flexible curriculum like Model My Watershed to their own classrooms.

Favorite ice cream: Anything with coffee in it!

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