The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education announces that Steve Woolf, superintendent of USD 112, is one of the recipients of the 2013 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Award. Nominated by their peers, these individuals exhibit outstanding innovation, leadership and achievement, as well as collaboration and cooperation within and beyond the environmental education field.
“KACEE is pleased to honor these deserving individuals and organizations, who are so dedicated to environmental education in Kansas,” said KACEE President Jeff Severin, director of Sustainability at the University of Kansas.
Awardees will be recognized at an Awards Celebration hosted by KACEE on Friday, April 5, 2013, at Heritage Hall in Topeka . The event is sponsored by KACEE, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Capitol Federal Foundation, and the Westar Energy Green Team.
As superintendent of USD 112, Central Plains, Steve isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. In fact, he encourages the students of his school district to get their hands dirty too! Mr. “Woolf’s love of the outdoors, coupled with his deep connection to the communities he works within led him, with support from his wife, to identify a pressing community need that he and his students could do something about—making fresh food available,” said Laura Downey, “Steve found some space and started preparing the ground to plant. As Steve worked, students and neighbors stopped by to help and together, they planted enough fruits and vegetables to make the produce available to anyone who wanted them.”
Woolf said that there are many in the community who wouldn’t otherwise have access to this fresh and nutritious produce. And what started with one garden has grown to gardens at many of the schools in his district, where high school students work to construct raised beds and students plant everything from heirloom tomatoes to cabbage.
Steve sees this as an opportunity to engage students in hands on service learning and help to feed the community. Steve, with help from his wife, numerous community members and students have experimented with gardening techniques to get the best yield and sometimes those efforts have worked well, other times not as well.
“We want our students to understand that success lies on the other side of failure and if you want to double your chances at success, you have to double your chances at failure,” said Woolf. “And we’re going to fail a lot and in the process, have some really cool things happen.”