AEEA is excited to announce the 2023 Outstanding Environmental Educators.
Outstanding Environmental Educator, Formal Education – Toby Hollin
Toby Hollin has been an educator for fifteen years, and has taught science, health and literacy; adult education; and coaching. She has also been a facilitator for Project Learning Tree, WILD, and WET for thirteen years. She is currently the fifth and sixth grade science and health teacher and outdoor education facilitator for Ouachita River School District in Mena, Arkansas.
Toby teaches her students about sustainability. They have designed and dug an in-ground garden and refurbished an old greenhouse, which they use year-round. They designed a gardening plan in which they researched plants that would grow well in their area, conducted soil testing, drew maps for their garden and even included vermiculture and recycling.They have built trails throughout the 15-acre outdoor classroom on campus. Older students teach the younger students about outdoor safety and maintain this area so that it can be used by all students as well as the public.
Toby works to connect student’s schoolwork with their neighborhoods and families through participating in beautification and community service projects. Toby also hosts Outdoor Education Parent Nights. These events are for parents of students to attend and learn more about environmental education and involve guest speakers and hands-on activities.
AEEA Executive Director Sophia Stephenson and Toby Hollin
Outstanding Environmental Educator, Nonformal Educator – William Toland
Bill Toland’s philosophy is to “stick with outdoor projects that can make a difference in the long run. Trail maintenance, native plants, educational programs, habitat restoration, as examples. Has to be hands-on though!”
As a 16-year volunteer for the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists, Bill has led hundreds of nature-related educational programs for adults and children. His primary focus during presentations is always the same: expose people to the natural world to develop an appreciation for keeping our environment healthy for both plants and animals.
He initiated, developed and led a weeklong Junior Naturalist Camp for elementary and middle school children at Wildwood Park for the Arts. He also introduced hikes that incorporated unique topics and other fun additions and developed a Nature Relay that has been in use for about 12 years in which both kids and adults participate.
Bill has provided hundreds of other nature and environmental programs including nature hikes, backyard habitats, native plants, reptiles, mammals, trail building, habitat restoration and stream team, just to name a few.
In addition to the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists, Bill has also worked with Arkansas State Parks, Audubon, AR, Little Rock Park and Recreation, North Little Rock Parks, AmeriCorp, Boys Scouts of America, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Keep Little Rock Beautiful, and Central Arkansas Water.
Bill Toland and Arkansas Master Naturalist Reed Green