Heather Anderson: Izaak Walton League Iowa Teacher of the Year

Last fall Heather Anderson of Cowles Montessori School was named a finalist for the Iowa Teacher of the Year award by the Iowa Department of Education. Lest anyone think she’s been resting on that laurel since then, she’s now been named as the 2013 Teacher of the Year by the Iowa Division of the Izaak Walton League of America in recognition of her efforts in the area of conservation and envinromental education.

The award will be formally presented at the group’s annual state convention this Saturday in Ames.

“Heather Anderson has embraced ecological education broadly. She has created a garden project at Cowles Montessori in Des Moines that allows students to explore the science of ecology while getting their hands dirty in real soil. They intimately experience the wonders of life while learning that it is possible for contemporary children to participate in growing their own healthy food. Her students are also learning about the role of native plants in providing food and habitat for essential native pollinators,” read the nomination submitted by Mike Delaney, Conservation Chair of the Des Moines chapter of Izaak Walton. “Heather has gone beyond the average teacher role by working with our urban gardening program. She has even set up a bee hive for educational purposes.”

Indeed, beekeepers were part of the school’s Environmental Day on Monday, an event she devised in coordination with Earth Day that also included arborists and a wide array of other environmental experts from Drake University, the World Food Prize, Polk County, Sierra Club and many more institutions and organizations.

At Cowles, Mother Nature is known by another name: Heather Anderson. She grows lots of stuff, but her specialty is students.

Published on