Thanks to his conservation efforts and environmental teaching within the program of Trout in the Classroom, local Summit High School teacher, Jamie Lambrecht is the newest winner of the 2014 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE).

The PIAEE is awarded to 16 different teachers across the country each year. These teachers have dedicated their time and curriculum to teaching their students about the importance of environmental conservation. According the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the award is given to teachers, “to nationally honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms & teaching methods.”

For Lambrecht, winning the award is an honor; but he is most happy with the recognition the award represents. According to Lambrecht, the award shows that, “people are starting to realize the efforts that go into watersheds and conservation.” This is the reason behind his involvement with the Trout in the Classroom program (TIC).

Lambrecht has been involved with the TIC program for the last three years. With a biology degree under his belt, he felt very drawn to the program when it was being offered by Gore Range Trout Unlimited. “I wanted a way for kids to get more involved with some more hands on research,” he said.

The program reaches about 150-200 kids between the ages of 14 and 18 at Summit High School in Summit County, Colorado. “The program is an elective class, [as an extension of the biology department] therefore students have to sign up and want to take it,” said Lambrecht.

His curriculum involves more than growing fish in tanks; it helps students learn all about the aquatic ecosystem. Students learn about the insects in the water, the affects of pH and nitrate towards water quality, and other ways to help improve the river habitat. The kids also learn how these different traits affect fishing. Lambrecht says, “The kids leave the class ready to fish.”

In the future Lambrecht and Gore Range TU are going to continue with the Trout in the Classroom program as well as other conservation projects that will help kids get more involved with watershed conservation.

For more information on the Trout in the Classroom program, check out thearticle on the Stream Explorers Program.