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Welcome to our Teacher Feature

Clean Air Partners highlights a teacher involved in our Lead Teacher Learning Community or Teachers who implement On the Air in their classrooms.  We dedicate this space to recognize teacher commitment to youth environmental literacy. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Beri Ndi and I live my life as “Balancing Acts” in my role as a high school science educator and a mother. These roles require as much finesse and dedication because of the delicate balance between nurturing the minds of the future and fostering the growth of my own family. My educational journey is fueled by a passion for science and an unwavering commitment to inspire young minds. As a high school science educator, I become a catalyst for curiosity, sparking a flame in students' hearts that will fuel their pursuit of knowledge for years to come. I consider my classroom a haven for inquisitive minds, and I try to employ innovative teaching methods, transforming mundane lessons into captivating experiences. Through hands-on experiments, engaging demonstrations, and thought-provoking discussions, I cultivate an environment that encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I want the impact of my teachings to extend beyond the classroom, shaping the trajectory of my students' academic and professional endeavors. I simultaneously navigate the intricate terrain of motherhood with days that are a harmonious blend of lesson plans and lullabies, grading papers and bedtime stories. The challenges of motherhood mirror the complexities of scientific experiments, requiring adaptability, patience, and a deep reservoir of love. All characteristics I strive to possess and maintain for the balance to work.

Describe the first time you felt a strong affinity for nature? 

The first time I felt a strong affinity for nature was a transformative experience, a moment that still lingers in my memory. I was probably not older than seven, as I experienced the forest for the first time alone. The air was filled with the melodic symphony of birdsongs, and the ground beneath my feet was filled with fallen leaves and soft moss. The towering trees above looked like a cathedral canopy, filtering sunlight into golden rays. I can still remember the earthly aroma of the damp soil, the noise made by the leaves as I walked, and the sounds of birds plus a beautiful butterfly that was perched on a branch nearby (I can still remember the four colors on it: blue, yellow, red and white). The forest was my classroom, teaching lessons that textbooks could never convey because as I know now, I was observing the balance of nature between the living and nonliving. Until this day I am very observant of the things around me, because they always tell a story.

Photo by Bob Richards @ Morguefile

Describe what motivated you to join the Lead Teacher Learning Community.

As a high school science educator I am always in pursuit of skills and knowledge that can significantly contribute to my students' understanding and interpretation of science. One of those is the benefit from joining an air quality and climate action community. When I looked at what Clean Air Partners were doing, I found activities that would allow me to integrate real-world examples of climate change and environmental issues into the curriculum, thus providing an opportunity to enhance students' understanding of the practical applications of scientific concepts by addressing current environmental challenges. Being part of the Lead Teacher Learning Community exposes me to a network of like-minded professionals, scientists, and activists who share a passion for environmental issues. And I look at this networking system as opportunities for collaborative projects, professional development, and the exchange of innovative teaching strategies related to climate science. This has provided me with access to a wealth of resources that I can use to enhance my own understanding of climate science and to enrich my teaching materials, ensuring my students are getting exposed to a wealth of knowledge. Since air quality and climate change issues are multifaceted and often require critical thinking and problem-solving skills, joining this community allows me to expose my students to complex, real-world problems. I believe, engaging with such issues fosters critical thinking skills as students explore potential solutions and analyze the scientific, social, and ethical aspects of air quality and climate-related challenges. Finally I think by actively participating in this community, I can enhance my teaching practices, inspire students, and contribute to the collective effort to address climate change.

Photo by Blondieb38 @ Morguefile

Describe which On the Air activity is the most appealing to you and why.

It is challenging to select one activity because they are particularly appealing to me. I believe they all align closely with every educator's expertise, allowing them to integrate scientific principles into real-world, hands-on experiences for students.They can all be seamlessly integrated into environmental science, biology, chemistry and physics concepts in the curriculum. As a teacher of any subject in science you can design lessons and projects that connect scientific principles with tangible actions, providing students with a practical understanding of the issues surrounding air quality and climate change with these activities. These activities can be expanded into interdisciplinary collaboration with science teachers working with colleagues from various disciplines, such as mathematics, social studies, and language arts, to create a holistic approach to sustainability education. I reflected long and hard about deciding which of these was my best and wrote down what I needed in an activity and proceeded by elimination, but unfortunately I was not able to eliminate any based on my criteria for a great and engaging learning activity for my students.

What environmental message do you have for young people?

Dear Young Eco-Champions, In the vibrant tapestry of our planet, your role as stewards of the environment is pivotal. Each one of you possesses the power to shape the future, to safeguard the delicate balance of nature, and to ignite a global movement for positive change. Your actions, no matter how small, create ripples that reverberate across the Earth. From the choices you make in your daily lives to the way you consume resources, every decision shapes the world around you. Be conscious of your impact and choose a path that nurtures rather than depletes our planet. Arm yourselves with the understanding of environmental issues, and share this knowledge with your peers, family, and community. Your enthusiasm can create a ripple effect, turning individuals into a collective force for change. Seek alternatives to single-use plastics, repurpose items when possible, and ensure that recyclables find their way to recycling bins. By adopting sustainable practices, you become an agent of positive change, contributing to a world where waste is minimized, and resources are conserved. Don’t forget to hold leaders and policymakers accountable for the well-being of our planet. Advocate for sustainable practices, renewable energy, and conservation efforts. Your voice matters, and your demands for a healthier, more sustainable world can influence decision-makers to prioritize the environment in their policies. Remember, you are not just the future; you are the present. The Earth is not merely a place you inhabit; it is your home. Your commitment, your actions, and your passion can transform this vision into reality. With unwavering hope and endless possibilities, Beri Ndi Science Educator Parkdale High School/ Lead Teacher for On the Air

Photo by Solo Shutter @ Morguefile

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