HOWELL – The Howell Township Environmental Commission honored a local teacher with a special award.
The Commission chose resident Danielle Gianelos as its annual Ann G. Ritchie Award recipient.
Gianelos is a science teacher at Howell Middle School South. She was scheduled to be honored at the Environmental Commission’s annual awards ceremony at the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale.
The Ann G. Ritchie Award is awarded annually by the members of the Environmental Commission to honor the memory of Ann G. Ritchie, a devoted environmentalist who worked tirelessly to sustain the environment and quality of life in Howell Township.
The Environmental Commission had the honor of working this past year with one of Gianelos’ 8th grade classes to research local environmental issues of concern and their proposals for solutions. Her class participated in the National Geographic GeoChallenge, which focused on plastic pollution in the local environment.
Several groups were selected to compete in the regional semifinals. Through this interaction, the Environmental Commission learned of the quality of the curriculum for the students in the Howell school system with regard to environmental issues. They were able to observe first hand Gianelos’ awareness and concern for environmental issues that she presented to her students.
The members of the Environmental Commission who were present for the students’ presentations described being in awe by the projects and the students’ achievements in the competition, as well as their problem solving approaches, that were fostered by the teacher.
Joan Osborne, chairperson of the Howell Environmental Commission said, “as environmental issues become front and center concerns that need attention and creative solutions, the next generation is being well educated by Mrs. Gianelos and others in the Howell K-8 School District who are imparting the skills and passion to resolve these issues to our local students.”
“We are so pleased to see the level of engagement and knowledge that both the teachers and the students that we had the privilege to work with had. The decision to honor Mrs. Gianelos as a teacher and as an example of how one person can make a difference that expands and radiates out through the lives and actions of others, was an easy one for the Environmental Commission,” Osborne said.
Osborne added that “we hope to encourage more residents of Howell to get involved in solving big and small environmental issues at the local level, which can only make Howell a better place to live.”