Two New Lauten Award WinnersHIGH SCHOOL TEACHER Frank Schmidt of Hebron, CT and 6th grade science teacher Otto Wurzburg of St. Johnsbury, VT each received the 2014 Gary N. Lauten Award for outstanding service and commitment to Forest Watch.
Mr. Schmidt teaches environmental Earth sciences at RHAM High School in Hebron and at Eastern Connecticut State University. Mr. Wurzburg teaches 6th grade science at St. Johnsbury School. Both teachers joined Forest Watch in 1997 and both teachers and their students sample and monitor ten white pines.
"I know Forest Watch has meant a great deal to my students because they feel they are playing a part in finding answers to at least one of the myriad environmental problems we face," said Wurzburg.
Mr. Schmidt developed an interdisciplinary class, called Forest Watch. The course involves the biology of the tree, the chemistry of ozone, and the physics of light and photosynthesis. About 100 RHAM students take the Forest Watch class every year.
At St. Johnsbury, Mr. Wurzburg's 6th graders use their white pine studies not only in science but in math and language arts lessons. Most recently, students wrote to their Congressional representatives to tell them about white pine needle cast and the importance of strict ozone regulations.
Dr. Barry Rock presented the Lauten awards at this year's Annual Meeting. Both teachers received beautiful walking sticks made by Mike Gagnon, our former Forest Watch coordinator and now a forestry teacher at Alvirne High School.
The late Gary Lauten is remembered each year for his work in developing Forest Watch and the protocols students use to monitor their pines and forests.