Thanks to a new partnership between Sullivan County (NH) and the Wellborn Ecology Fund, schools and teachers looking to increase environmental education for their students will find help from the Sullivan County Conservation District in Unity.
A $25,000 grant from the Wellborn Ecology Fund to Sullivan County resulted in the creation of an Environmental Education & Outreach Specialist to provide environmental education support to schools in Sullivan County.
The goal of the County’s Environmental Education Specialist is to incorporate place-based ecology education into everyday learning.
In November 2015, the County hired Phylicia Schwartz to fill this new role. Phylicia is already engaged in several education projects and programs, including coordinating the Stream Table Loan Program, developing a network of school weather stations (the Upper Valley Mesonet project), and developing the Wellborn Place-Based Ecology Education Institute.
She will also focus on promoting county lands and encouraging school-age and adult groups to visit, where environmental subject areas such as agriculture, wildlife, forestry, hydrology, earth sciences and sustainable energy production can be explored.
Phylicia grew up in rural Iowa as the daughter of a park ranger. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental science from the University of Dubuque and master’s degrees in environmental education and teaching from Southern Oregon University. She previously worked for Delaware Nature Society as an environmental educator.
The Wellborn Ecology Fund, a program of the NH Charitable Foundation, was established in 2001 through a bequest by Hanover naturalist and resident Marguerite Wellborn. Its purpose is to support programs that provide Upper Valley residents with the knowledge, experience, skills, and understanding necessary to make informed decisions aimed at sustaining the region’s natural systems. The Foundation currently focuses on providing access to high-quality place-based ecology education, particularly in the Claremont, Newport, and Mascoma school districts.
The Sullivan County Conservation District, a program of the Sullivan County Natural Resources Department (based at the County Complex in Unity, NH) has been providing environmental assistance to County residents and organizations since 1946.
Originally designed to help farmers with soil and water conservation, today the District provides assistance and expertise to County residents on a wide range of topics including soil health, soil stability, cover cropping, water quality and management, riparian buffers, invasive species management, wildlife habitat management, food scrap composting, pollinator habitat management, and biodiversity conservation.