Educators Honored at 2017 Annual Meeting

a photo of Jaime Hutchinson (left) and Jay Hale (right)

Jay Hale of First Friends Preschools received the 2017 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award for her efforts to bring nature-based programming to all four First Friends Preschools in the ConVal district. Here, she is pictured (right) with Harris Center naturalist Jaime Hutchinson (left), who presented the award at the Harris Center’s 2017 Annual Meeting on October 22.

The Harris Center recognized several extraordinary partners at our 47th Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 22.

Lori Groleau, a sixth grade social studies teacher at South Meadow School, was named the Harris Center’s 2017 Educator of the Year. Lori is an exemplary and inspiring collaborating teacher, with a unique ability to envision new possibilities, a willingness to dive into unknown territory, tireless dedication above and beyond the classroom, and an infectious curiosity and enthusiasm. Lori has been working with the Harris Center for 16 years. Most recently, she worked with John Benjamin from the Harris Center and Matthew Roy from Otter Book Farm to renovate the South Meadow School greenhouse and gardens as part of a unit on sustainable food systems, plant growth, and scientific inquiry.

The 2017 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award — honoring former Harris Center Executive Director Laurie Bryan’s achievements in working with community partners — was awarded to Jay Hale of First Friends Preschool for her efforts to bring the Harris Center’s nature-based education programs to all the First Friends Preschools in the ConVal School District. Because of Jay, Harris Center naturalists now visit all four First Friends classrooms five times throughout the school year. In Jay’s words: “I like the way the partnership [with the Harris Center] has given the preschool staff a framework for sharing ideas with each other. We often share ways in which we have expanded on a particular Harris Center theme (with math activities, dramatic play ideas, etc.), which enriches all the programs. I have also liked the way the theme approach has been successful for a diverse group of learners. While one child is expanding vocabulary and labeling an “acorn,” another is focused on the life cycle of an oak tree.”

In addition to these awards, a brief business meeting, and a review of Harris Center highlights from the year, the Annual Meeting featured an entertaining talk by Eric Masterson. The standing-room only crowd was treated to the illustrated story of Eric’s recent journey along the migration route of the broad-winged hawk from Hancock, NH to Panama City, Panama by bicycle. Eric mixed fascinating tidbits about bird migration with hilarious and captivating reflections on his travels, the people he met, and plans for his next big adventure.