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2023 COEEA Awards

COEEA is proud to announce that this year we are celebrating two amazing Environmental Educator professionals that will share the "2023 Environmental Educator of the Year" award! Congratulations to our 2023 COEEA Award winners! Click each image to view the more information about each award winner.

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Environmental Educator of the Year

Lauren Little

Lauren Little is an urban farmer, educator, and activist. She has worked in education for over 16 years in order to gain insight into the minds and imaginations of children. Lauren has found a way to share her love of nature, farming and learning with children across the Hartford area. Through her lessons, she shows people how to connect with nature, how to care for land, and how to create a healthy diet through gardening. Lauren's passion for this work is infectious, just watch a few of her Instagram posts with the children to witness her impact on their lives. In her work as an Urban Farmer, she managed 60 school farm plots, taught over 5500 students how to grow food, and fed more than 100 families throughout the Greater Hartford area. At the core of Lauren's work, she is building future environmental stewards that are informed, and also have built affection for Hartford to care for it. Lauren sees access as key in her environmental education work, she moves to meet communities in their neighborhoods. She also is intentional about managing gardens in locations that are accessible to BIPOC and urban communities.

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Environmental Educator of the Year 

Sarah Breznen

As a thoughtful and sensitive educator and inspiring leader to her peers, Sarah Breznen exemplifies what it means to be a teacher: she is knowledgeable and passionate, humble and kind in a manner that captivates others and inspires action. At Woodcock Nature Center, Sarah is responsible for more than 3,000 pre-school & elementary students visiting the Nature Center through field trips annually, which are designed to meet Connecticut’s Core Science Curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards while also embracing environmental literacy principles. She has expertly designed these programs to cover a range of topics that enhance classroom curricula while building awareness and understanding of local environments. Sarah has established ongoing partnerships with two Title I schools in Danbury, which have provided field trip and programming at no cost to the schools or students, including bus transportation when they were able to participate live. Sarah’s volunteer work on invasive management in Norwalk encourages audiences of all ages to get involved, in an underserved urban area with higher-than-average asthma rates, limited access to green spaces, and depleted tree canopy. She seamlessly nurtures connections between the community, schools, and the valuable resources at Woodcock Nature Center. She provides classroom teachers with resources for integrating environmental concepts and through her community work is igniting a passion for nature that will be long-lasting.

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