Christopher Gates and Dr. Dierdre Wilson
Gates and Wilson developed their winning program, “Bringing Environmentally Sound Transformation (B.E.S.T.),” as an 11-month study and conservation initiative on environmental issues and protection. Students in the program at Broward Virtual School will become advocates in protecting the landscape for birds, fish, animals and wildlife that depend on special habitats. By researching causes and initiating solutions to address various environmental issues, they will develop an action plan to restore beaches, coastlines and natural preserves for wildlife and people. The plan will include hands-on field trips to the beach/shoreline for cleanups and Professional Study Days led by local environmental staff. It will also include Research and Discovery Days to provide extended learning opportunities and help students learn about animals, ecosystems and the environment. A long-term commitment of the program will include “adopting” a street in the community where students will volunteer to remove trash several times a year over a two-year period which will allow them to continue their practice of environmental stewardship. Through monitoring the progress, environmental goals and impact of the program, Gates and Wilson hope the students will inform and empower others of what they can do to help save the planet.