Harford Glen Environmental Center recently hosted its 11th Annual Environmental Scholarship and Green Awards event. The Green Awards are presented to committed volunteers, local businesses and educators who are dedicated to the support of Harford Glen and environmental education in Harford County Public Schools.
This year’s Green Teachers of the Year were announced and celebrated for their dedication to consistently integrate environmental themes into their teaching.
Heather Runkle-Smith, science instructor at Aberdeen High School, was named the Secondary Green Teacher of the Year. Runkle-Smith co-chairs the Aberdeen High School Green Team and is also the Envirothon advisor.
Mike O’Brien, principal of Aberdeen High stated, “Mrs. Runkle-Smith is a driving force in our recycling efforts, and she strives to help students see how their everyday decisions have impacts on our environment.” Runkle-Smith’s vision for the future includes starting a teracycle program at Aberdeen High.
Amber Seyler-Vyskocil, art instructor at Ring Factory Elementary School, was named the Elementary Green Teacher for 2018. Seyler-Vyskocil was nominated by her school’s administration for instituting multiple recycling programs and for her leadership in an after-school Environmental Arts Club through Emmorton Recreation Council.
Her principal, Meridith Dunlap, shared that Seyler-Vyskocil promotes opportunities for students, staff and the entire community to participate in environmental stewardship.
The 2019 Environmental Scholarship winners were also announced at the event. They were: Makayla Reed, Aberdeen High School; Michael Jennings, Bel Air High School; Meghan Barnes, C. Milton Wright High School; Katie Perrault, Edgewood High School; Timothy Smoot, Fallston High School; Kara Kramer, North Harford High School; Luke Hahn, Havre de Grace High School; and Sarah McCollum, Patterson Mill High School.
All winners received $1,000 scholarships provided by local sponsors. This year’s countywide winner was Michael Jennings from Bel Air High School, who received an additional $1,000 sponsored by the Harford Land Trust.
The Environmental Scholarship program began in 1972 and has provided graduating students with more than $270,000 in funding for college study in the field of environmental science or related areas.
This year’s Community Connections Award was received by Transition Work Experience Program students who work diligently each week to support the Harford Glen residential program. Students honored were Raymond Willis and Kerlin Ortega, both of Bel Air High School, and Chris Fendick of C. Milton Wright High School.
This annual awards event is made possible thanks to the Harford Glen Foundation and the many community sponsors who donate to the scholarship fund, including:
• Clear Creeks Consulting
• Foxborough Nursery Inc.
• Harford Financial Group
• Harford Glen Foundation
• Harford Land Trust
• Plaza Ford Inc.
• PNC Bank
• Science National Honor Society at Aberdeen Science and Math Academy
• The Manor Tavern
• Vulcan Materials Company
• Wegmans Bel Air.