Hiram College

Director of Science Education Matt Sorrick was awarded the 2010 Portage County Environmental Conservation Award in Environmental Education at the 12th annual awards dinner on April 10. Awards were presented to local role models who have made significant contributions for environmental conversation of Portage County’s natural heritage.

Sorrick, in his sixth year at Hiram, earned the high honor for his unique educational programs for children and adults at Hiram College, including the “Science in the Schoolyard” program for educators.

“Science in the Schoolyard” is partnership between Hiram College and PreK-6 teachers that involves science conceptual understanding, theme-based unit planning, teaching experiences and classroom implementation. The program empowers teachers to explore nature and their school environment through hands-on activities, and to establish connections with their students, the school and the surrounding community.

All of Sorrick’s programs provide important planning, training and teaching opportunities for Hiram College students, particularly education and environmental education students. Participating students learn about childhood development, natural history, use of educational animals, and much more. These nature programs are designed with recent research in mind, suggesting the importance of connecting young children to nature through frequent, unstructured and positive nature explorations. As a result, these “Nearby-Nature” programs emphasize the importance of learning about the living and nonliving things in our own backyards.

Other award recipients from organizations outside of Hiram College included Judy Semroc for environmental stweardship, Advanced Rehabilitation and Health Specialists of Mantua for environmental activism, Ron Burbick and the Burbick Foundation for sustainable urban redevelopment, Steve Tuckerman of Twin Lakes for career advancement and Kent Environmental Council for enduring environmental advocacy.

For more information, see the Portage Park District Web site.