Andy Fast – 2016 Outstanding Educator of the Year

As described by UNH Cooperative Extension, “Andy is being recognized particularly for his work leading the “Walk in the Forest” program at schools in his service area. A “Walk in the Forest” brings students to a nearby forest—often on school grounds—to learn about forest ecosystems. The field days most often consist of four stations where students learn about tree identification, forest measurements, wildlife, and forest soils. He enlists colleagues and volunteers to help lead the stations and provides Project Learning Tree activities as the basis. “A Walk in the Forest” is a partnership of NH Project Learning Tree, the Granite State Division of the Society of American Foresters, and the N.H. Tree Farm Program.

Although he uses a prescribed formula for each field day, Andy is thoughtful about the approach. He thinks about the ages of each class of students and what will be most appropriate for their developmental and learning stages.

Andy has quietly been offering the “Walk in the Forest” program to schools in his service area. He has helped organize and lead 15 programs at 10 schools since 2008. He has worked with more than 1,000 students and more than 100 adults through these programs.