The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs presented the 24th Annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education at the Massachusetts State House, Great Hall in Boston on May 14, 2018.

The Hartsbrook School was presented with a First Honors Award and Certificate of Excellence for its “Plants in the Landscape: Crafting an Ecological Approach to Patterns and Process in Nature” course, which was first taught in the fall of 2017 as part of Hartsbrook’s Land Stewardship Program’s Common Block (all high school grades). The “First Honors” award was presented to members of the Hartsbrook School by Matthew A. Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
The course was designed by Todd Lynch and Nicole Thurrell with an approach that uses place-based learning to explore how the inter-connected relationships of hydrology, soils, land use patterns and micro-climate determined plant communities across the 40 acre parcel of the school, located in Hadley, MA. The program combined science-based observation and fieldwork with art, plant communities and the roles plants play in our lives. Over the three week course, students develop strong comprehension of natural capital and social value as well as wildlife benefits of plant communities as varied as floodplain forest, mesic upland forest and farm field.

Hartsbrook Wins Excellence in Environmental Education Award
Receiving the award on behalf of The Hartsbrook School were (standing left to right in the first row) EEA Secretary Matthew A. Beaton, Todd Lynch, MLA, MALD, course designer and principal of Ecotropy LLC, Jordan, Kathy (students) and Nicole Thurrell, CTRS, WEMD, Director of the Institute for Wilderness and Emergency Medicine and course designer.