Phinney Ridge resident Janelle Shafer has won a national conservation fellowship from Audubon and Toyota. Shafer is one of 41 people nationwide selected for the TogetherGreen Fellowship, which comes with $10,000 to be used for a community-based conservation project.
Through her TogetherGreen fellowship, Shafer will be able to integrate a stewardship component into Seattle Audubon’s already successful Elementary School education programs. Currently, two programs exist: Finding Urban Nature (FUN), which introduces 3rd and 4th graders to nature in their own schoolyards; and the FUN Explorers Program, helping 5th grade students to better understand a local environmental indicator – birds. The fellowship will enable her to continue to provide free environmental education programs to schools who are in need while also introducing a stewardship project that will focus on identifying keystone bird species and strategies for restoring and protecting bird habitat. As a culmination of the project, students will teach their community about neighborhood birds and what they can do to protect them.
In her current role as the Elementary School Programs Manager for Seattle Audubon, Shafer engages 3rd through 5th graders in experiential, hands-on, science-based lessons to promote a closer connection to the natural world.
“Each student has a unique style of learning, their own spark that empowers them to become engaged learners,” Shafer said in a press release. “If I can ignite that spark just once, using environmental education and the skills I have learned through this fellowship, than I feel like I have planted a seed for a more sustainable future.”