Stephanie Haan-Amato wasn’t expecting to fall in love with environmental education or the desert. Now, these are two of her greatest passions.
Stephanie left her childhood home of Orlando, Fl, to attend UC Santa Cruz and study environmental sciences. Her pursuit of a masters in wildlife sciences brought her to Las Cruces, NM, where a TA-ship introduced her to the many rewards of being an educator.
She quickly acquired a second masters in Education and taught high school biology until landing her “dream job” of Science Education Specialist at the Asombro Institute four years ago.
For Stephanie, EE is an opportunity to make the world a better place. “Having an environmentally literate future generation is our best hope,” she says. Her daily inspirations come from the “a-ha moments” when students make discoveries about the natural world and fuel their own sense of wonder about animals, plants and natural processes.
She also revisits Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods every year because she strongly believes that connecting kids with nature has tremendous physical and psychological health benefits.
In her role as an environmental educator, Stephanie combines science and research with teaching and creativity. She is currently developing a climate change curriculum in partnership with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub, the first of nine units is available for free download online.
Living in the Chihuahuan desert has inspired a deep love for an often-unappreciated landscape. Stephanie admires the desert for its beauty, mild winters and all of that sunshine. She also loves to stop and look around and notice the diversity that others often miss. She and her two energetic and inquisitive children, ages 5 and 8, spend much of their time exploring the desert. Their favorite destination is Organ Peak, especially the Baylor Pass and Sierra Vista trails.
When she’s not teaching or hiking, Stephanie is training for marathons and triathlons. She ran the Boston Marathon this past April and is training for a half Ironman race in November. Catch her if you can!
Stephanie also received the 2015 Dr. Richard W. Becker Award.
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