An official website of the United States government.

News Releases from Region 01

EPA Honors New Canaan, Conn. Teacher with Environmental Educator Award

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (

BOSTON - A middle school teacher in New Canaan, Conn. was one of 12 educators education professionals honored earlier this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA award ceremony also honored and over 75 students for their exceptional contributions to environmental education and stewardship.

Laura Poidomani, a teacher at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan, was awarded a "Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators" (PIAEE) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Monday. The event featured speakers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Toyota's North American Environmental Sustainability Programs, and the North American Association for Environmental Education.

"Through their work, these impressive educators and students demonstrate how community partnerships — between schools, business and government — can build and sustain environmental change," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "Together, EPA and our partners are working to improve environmental literacy across the nation."

"The educators being honored provide the foundation from which the next generation of environmental leaders will grow," said acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedman. "It is also heartening to recognize the achievements of the student winners, who will undoubtedly unleash more innovation in the future and serve as role models to their peers."

A teacher with 18 years of experience teaching students ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade, Laura Poidomani currently teaches 6th graders at Saxe Middle School. Her classroom vividly reflects how she integrates direct experiences with textbook learning. A trout tank is carefully monitored and maintained by the student "Trout Club." This experience helps students to better understand the human role impacting trout populations in the wild, as well as how people can positively affect the environment. The classroom includes model aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that students observe and query. She uses model septic systems to help students understand how septic systems work and their role in the ecosystem. Laura Poidomani's students take their knowledge and learning into the surrounding community. A Student Watershed Awareness Taskforce allows students to follow text and hands-on studies of watersheds, including septic and sewage treatment, movement of water through watersheds, and visible and invisible components of those waters.

The PIAEE awards recognize innovative educators who bring environmental education into their classrooms through hands-on, experiential approaches. Winning teachers led unique projects such as Student Watershed Awareness Taskforce, a school farmers' market and food sharing program, interactive blogs for students to connect with scientists and other professionals, campus-wide recycling programs, and outdoor learning areas.

Earlier this summer EPA also recognized students in Milford and New Haven Conn. who were selected for a "Presidential Environmental Youth Award," a program that recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. The Connecticut youths earned recognition for a project called "Synthesis of Low Cost, Biodegradable Masks/Bags Using Novel Material Combinations: A Sustainability Project." The students included Arya Bairat, James Rodrigues and Eran-Avni Singer.

More information:

For details on the 2017 PIAEE winners, visit

For details on the 2016 PEYA winners, visit

For information on environmental education at EPA, visit