Lifetime of Promoting Environmental Understanding
March 9, 2018 (Gainesville, Ga.) The Elachee Nature Science Center family is delighted to share that long time Director of Education Peter Robert Gordon has been honored with the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia’s Eugene Odum Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter received this prestigious recognition at the organization’s annual conference banquet, held March 3, 2018 at Unicoi State Park.
“Peter joined the Elachee staff at a time that was critical to our development and success as a reputable environmental education center,” shares Andrea Timpone, Elachee President and CEO. “Through his hard, dedicated and passionate work he was able to grow Elachee’s education program to the current level it is today.” Peter has overseen the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS/AdvancED) accreditation for Elachee’s education programs from 1995 to present.
Peter holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Alabama, and received his MEd in Social Science Education from the University of Georgia. His impactful career as an educator has seen him working as a naturalist on Georgia’s coast, locally as instructor and adjunct professor at Brenau Academy, and since 1993 as Elachee’s Director of Education.
For a quarter of a century, Peter has been the ‘face’ of Elachee’s environmental education programs for children and nature lovers, alike. In addition to growing Elachee’s premier STEAM-based environmental education school programs to now serve nearly 35,000 students from over 25 Georgia school districts each year, Peter also more recently led the development and start-up of Elachee Nature Academy, the onsite licensed and accredited nature-based Preschool and Kindergarten-1st Grade programs. Each summer, Peter manages the renowned Camp Elachee summer day camps that get more than 1,000 children outdoors to experience the natural world during school breaks. Interspersed throughout the year, Peter guides seasonal public programs that bring families and life-long learners out to better understand wildlife, plants and ecosystems of the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve and Lake Lanier.
“Peter’s particular strength lies in his personable ability to relate to all people with diplomacy, respect and cooperation,” Andrea explains. “This quality, combined with his passion for understanding and appreciating our environment, has forged a career that has impacted tens of thousands of children and adults and benefited this state we love and care for. As past president of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia, Peter is most deserving of this lifetime achievement award.”
In presenting Peter with this award, fellow educator, nature enthusiast and EEA board member Jerry Hightower commented, “Peter has made a huge difference for environmental education in Georgia and has helped guide the careers of quite a few environmental educators.”
As a testament to Peter’s dedication to environmental education, Jerry stated, “He was instrumental in helping to lead the Environmental Education Alliance into the new millennium. Peter has planned, developed, implemented and led dozens of educator workshops, and did the same for hundreds of community conservation and education classes, workshops and symposiums. Every teacher trained will spend the rest of their careers using this knowledge.”
Ever humble, Peter’s acceptance speech was uncharacteristically brief. “Talk about walking in the steps of giants,” he remarked. “So many terrific, tremendous people have also received this [award]. I might be receiving as an individual, but it’s a tribute to the individuals I work with.”