Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award for District Five Educator

Amy Umberger, the resident scientist at Dutch Fork Elementary Academy of Environmental Sciences, has been honored with the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). This award acknowledges Umberger’s exceptional contributions to stimulating interest in Earth Sciences at the pre-college level.

Umberger, who teaches multiple grade levels, emphasizes inquiry and real-world application in her Earth Science teaching. With a passion for environmental education, she believes in connecting students to the natural world and fostering collaborative outdoor learning experiences. Umberger’s efforts extend beyond the classroom, as she is also a long-time member and board member of the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

As the Resident Scientist at Dutch Fork Elementary Academy of Environmental Sciences, Umberger teaches multiple grade levels. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in K-8 Elementary Education, an I.M.A. in Natural Sciences K-8, and has been teaching for 30 years.

“I cannot say enough about Amy Umberger and the work she has done at Dutch Fork Elementary Academy of Environmental Sciences,” said School District Five Director of Magnet Programs Sara Wheeler. “To say her role as Resident Scientist is crucial to the success of this magnet school is an understatement. Dutch Fork has achieved success beyond expectations and is a model of an outstanding environmental sciences program due to the passion and dedication of Mrs. Umburger!”

Expressing her gratitude for the award, Umberger highlighted the significance of recognizing environmental education and its connection to earth science. She sees the award as particularly meaningful for an elementary teacher, given that the discipline often tends to be more associated with middle or high school levels.

The Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards program, initiated in 1971 by NAGT, aims to identify and reward excellence in teaching pre-college earth science. By honoring teachers like Umberger, the program seeks to stimulate higher levels of teaching performance and establish NAGT as a strong supporter of pre-college earth science education.

“Mrs. Umberger is a rock for our environmental science magnet school,” Dutch Fork Elementary School Principal Rebecca Dilley said. “She is always there for our students and staff, consistently going above and beyond. She has worked endlessly this year to ensure that several of our initiatives were up and running smoothly. Mrs. Umberger has single handedly applied for grants to fund our “Crumbs to Compost ” program, she has secured bees to bring back our in-house bee hives, and additionally she has worked fearlessly to ensure that every student was provided with field trips to have hands-on learning experiences, many of these field trips have been fully funded by our Title 1 Funds. Mrs. Umberger is a rock for our students and staff. We have a saying at our school, “All in …TOGETHER” and Mrs. Umberger is the epitome of that!”

Photo:Richland County Councilman/Vice Chair Derrek Pugh presented the award to Umberger

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