We are so excited to announce the launch of CELF- Houston, the Texas branch of our organization. Houston-based educators Lisa Gianukos and Amanda Brown joined our team in July, bringing with them a wealth of experience as both Texas classroom teachers and department chairs, curriculum designers and environmental educators. Living and learning in the heart of America’s energy capital, Lisa and Amanda are developing CELF’s signature professional development programs in Education for Sustainability with a unique Texas lens. As Houston joins other cities around the world in battling increased extreme weather events and struggles with air quality, teachers are seeking ways to connect their students with critical problem-solving challenges in their own backyards.
Lisa came to CELF with seventeen years of classroom experience in both secondary schools and higher education. As a secondary school teacher, she wrote and applied curriculum units integrating Project-Based Learning and Universal Design for Learning. Lisa also worked hard to connect her students to their local communities, partnering with organizations to incorporate place-based issues into student learning. Lisa says, “Heading CELF-Houston is an exciting opportunity to promote public awareness to environmental literacy in the state of Texas. Sustainability can no longer be just a talking point; instead, sustainability must be a collective practice of being responsible with our resources.”
Amanda comes to CELF with seven years of experience as a middle school science teacher in both Pearland and Houston Independent School Districts. To build environmental awareness, Amanda incorporated experiential learning opportunities within her lessons to provide her students with a connection to their place. She has also served eight years as an environmental educator, leading outreach programs for both the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service (NPS), as well as directing educational and volunteer programming for the Bayou Preservation Association. Additionally, Amanda managed the largest waterway cleanup in the State of Texas – Trash Bash – and coordinated the Texas Stream Team, a water quality citizen science program. Amanda says, “Being a part of the CELF-Houston team will allow me to make a positive difference within my local community by melding experience with passion. With so many environmental changes occurring before our eyes, the world needs more environmental literacy. I want to continue to activate change to improve people’s perception and understanding of sustainability.”
If you have plans to attend the Texas Association of Environmental Educators Conference this month register for Lisa and Amanda’s presentation on the Big Ideas of Sustainability on September 28th. Our Texas team will be offering customizable professional learning workshops throughout the school year and launching the first CELF Summer Institute in Texas in 2020. Stay tuned!