Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher Peter Dargatz was awarded Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education (WAEE) 2020 Formal Educator of the Year Award. He is being honored for his outstanding, ongoing effort in infusing environmental education into his teaching.
WAEE is a statewide non-profit professional organization of environmental educators that supports environmental education through advocacy, networking and recognition. It is a member-based, professional community of individuals and organizations with diverse backgrounds that promotes responsible environmental action, elevates voices for environmental justice and celebrates excellence in environmental education.
Dargatz was nominated by parents, staff and community naturalists who pointed to his work creating a Forest Kindergarten and his collaboration with the Waukesha County Retzer Nature Center that give students exceptional environmental education opportunities. Dargatz spearheaded the development of the unused natural area behind Woodside for trails and natural play areas. With the school community, he grew native plants, tackled invasive species and captured diverse wildlife on a trail camera. Dargatz has extended the nature curriculum to involve all grades at Woodside.
“Peter is a model for children to develop their own love of the outdoors through experiences, work and natural play,” the nominators wrote.
Dargatz will be recognized at the WAEE virtual fall conference in November.