Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year Award

Award Overview

Throughout Delaware there are exceptional teachers and administrators working to prepare their students to become environmentally aware citizens with creative lessons, impactful projects, and outdoor experiences.

Delaware Nature Society is proud to recognize formal and non-formal educators or administrators who go above and beyond to ensure their students develop a sense of stewardship for the environment with the Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year Award.

Award Recipients Receive

Bestowed on one or more inspirational teachers annually since 1982, Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year recipients are honored at Delaware Nature Society’s Annual Meeting in April and also receive:

  • $300 towards a class field experience, personal enrichment program or trip, or other products or services offered by Delaware Nature Society
  • An original, personalized watercolor painting Award Certificate
  • A one-year household membership to Delaware Nature Society
  • Statewide recognition through press releases and posting on Delaware Nature Society’s website

To Apply or Nominate a Teacher

Applications must be received by 5 pm on wednesday, January 31, 2018.
Email application to David Pragoff, School and Group Programs Team Leader at or complete an online submission form . A Google Account is required for online submission.
Only complete applications will be considered. Although not required, applicants are encouraged to submit supporting documentation such as photographs, lesson plans, student work, or other materials.

For more information

Contact David Pragoff, School & Group Programs Team Leader at or at 302.239.2334, ext 133 if you have questions about the Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.

Meet this year's winner - Jessica McCarthy

Outstanding Environmental Educator Award 2017 winner Jessica McCarthy
Jessica McCarthy, Kindergarten Teacher, North Star Elementary School

Delaware Nature Society’s Outstanding Environmental Educator Award for 2017 was awarded to Jessica McCarthy, Kindergarten teacher at North Star Elementary School in Hockessin, Delaware, part of the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

Jessica is highly regarded by her peers and the school administration as a talented educator, early childhood specialist and a school leader. In addition to her outstanding work in the classroom, Jessica is also recognized for her passion for nature and her desire to instill respect and a sense of wonder for the natural world in her students.

Jessica goes to great lengths to get her students outside the classroom to experience the environment first-hand. Students engage in researching, observing and recording the plants and animals around the school as inspiration for lessons Jessica implements that integrate language arts, math and science. These efforts do not stop with her classroom of students.

Jessica led the charge at North Star Elementary for the planning, design and installation of a very impressive outdoor classroom. Even the planning for the space was an educational opportunity and cooperative effort as Jessica coordinated joint research projects with other classrooms and grades throughout the building to prepare and present a proposal of their vision for the outdoor classroom to the school administration and PTA. Upon approval of the plan, Jessica continued to dedicate extensive time and energy to implement the project which now serves as a tremendous resource for the entire North Star Community. Jessica mentors colleagues in the building to successfully and sustainably utilize the space and helps provide resources and lessons to help other teachers. She also co-chairs the school’s Outdoor Classroom Committee to help ensure the space continues to thrive and grow.

Jessica’s energy and enthusiasm for connecting students with the natural world and her dedication to instilling understanding and respect for the environment demonstrates that she is truly one of Delaware’s extraordinary teachers. It is my pleasure to recognize Jessica with this year’s Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.