Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
K-12 Educator of the Year
What is most important to Mr. Reding is that the students he teaches are involved and intrigued by his class. In order to do this he has each of his AP classes every year come up with a yearlong project that they are truly passionate about working on. This previous year I had the privilege of being in one of his AP classes and we chose to build a permaculture outside of our school garden. Unfortunately, we were short on time and were only able to do the planning and funding, but this summer the construction of the permaculture has begun. The amount of trust and power he puts in the hands of the students makes us feel as though for once someone truly believes in us; from allowing us almost full control of our permaculture project, to calling us the "why generation" and saying that we are the first generation to have the ability to solve the problems of our world and possibly save it. His optimism is infectious and fills us with hope and determination--at least it did for me. Due to Mr. Reding's utmost passion for the environment, I am going to Miami University in order to go into the Masters of Environmental Studies program with a major of Electrical Engineering and a comajor of Energy in order to work with sustainable energies and try to get the world away from its toxic dependency on nonrenewable resources such as coal, oil, natural gas, etc. If I had never been in Mr. Reding's class I would not have been inspired to take this path.
Jim Reding teaches AP environmental science, ecology and a summer class on sustainable agriculture. It most important to Jim that the students are involved and engaged in his class.
His classes are relevant and thought-provoking. Students are encouraged to wonder why and seek answers to their questions. Jim is a natural facilitator of inquiry-based learning and energizes his students to ask questions that he does not know the answer to. Many of his students have gone on to pursue degrees, internships and careers in the environmental sciences. This fact alone is testament to his distinguished service in environmental education.
Along with his students, he developed the school’s organic garden including raised beds, fruit trees, a hoop house, greenhouse, aquaponics, a rain garden and solar panels. Many of the projects were responses to problems. Students identified problems and were mentored as they came up with solutions to real-life problems. The garden extends far beyond its fences – produce is sold to community members and students eat the fresh food when dining in the cafeteria.
Since 2013 to present, his students are working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other community partners to develop a 50-acre land lab complete with prairies and wetlands.
A few more of Jim Reding’s notable accomplishments include:
• 2015 Formal Educator of the Year, Environmental Education Council of Ohio
• Advised a group of 33 high school students on a 2015 spring break trip to a Global Student Leaders Summit on Sustainability in Costa Rica
• Coached multiple Envirothon teams that qualified for the state competition for at least the last decade and many teams that took home top prizes. One extraordinary team qualified for the North American competition.
• Recognized in 2015 by US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Ohio Private Lands State Coordinator Lori Stevenson as a Premier Educational Partner for all the work he does for kids, and for conservation at Granville Intermediate School Land Lab for this generation and beyond.
• Recipient of the 2016 Most Innovative in Education Award from The Lexicon of Stability’s Project Localize Awards (in collaboration with Granville High School students and fellow teacher).