The Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award recognizes individuals who work with children under 16 to inspire “their appreciation of the beauty and fragility of our planet.”
This year the Shaker Lakes Garden Club applied to the GCA Scholarship Committee and was granted the award to be presented to Victoria McMillan. A seconding letter was sent by Dr. Fran Bisselle, Head of Hathaway Brown School. The Award comes with a $1000 GCA scholarship grant.
Torrey McMillan has been an educator since she was awarded a graduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2003, where she studied environmental and sustainability education. Her master’s thesis involved visiting model sustainability programs in schools to inform the development of a plan for a comprehensive sustainability education initiative for Hathaway Brown School. Case studies from the project have been published in the Journal of Environmental Education 2006.
Torrey then worked as the Department Chair of Sustainability Studies at the White Mountain School in New Hampshire before becoming the Director of the Center for Sustainability at Hathaway Brown School. She holds an adjunct professorship for the Sustainability major at Baldwin Wallace College and is also the Director of the Biomimicry Educator’s Consortium and K-12 Education Programs for Great Lakes Biomimicry.
Torrey has worked extensively as an environmental curriculum consultant and speaks at conferences nationwide, covering integration of sustainability into curriculum, using systems thinking and systems dynamics in the classroom.
As well as her curriculum work, Torrey has focused on teaching youth about the outdoors and sustainability with hands-on, immersive experiences. At Hathaway Brown she has led the lower and middle school students in designing and building an outdoor bird sanctuary on campus. The design for this space was created by our member Robin Schachat. Even the youngest students from pre-K on up spend time year-round in the sanctuary, learning how they are connected to their ecosystem and how to take action to preserve it.
For Torrey, sustainability is not merely a course but an idea that must permeate the fabric and culture of the school: addressing the facilities and operations of the school, integrating sustainability into the curriculum in all divisions, providing professional development for HB faculty and staff, supporting independent student research and projects, and building connections and collaborations both within HB and with local, regional, national and international organizations.