Lauren Coomes, a 3rd- and 4th-grade teacher at Estes Elementary School (Owensboro Independent), has been named the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts’ (KACD) Teacher of the Year. The award recognizes the outstanding conservation education efforts of Kentucky’s teachers and conservation districts.

“I was shocked.  It’s an incredible experience to win an award for something that I love to do.  I’m happy to work in a district that supports creativity,” Coomes said.

Coomes was nominated by the Daviess County Conservation District (DCCD) after her students were recognized this spring for their accomplishments in its poster contest and after DCCD officials learned about the Estes Garden. The garden was started last year when Coomes noticed that most of her students do not get exposure to the agricultural community because they live in the city.

“The garden makes the students excited.  My students literally pull up weeds and bring them into class to ask what they are.  We are incorporating real-world learning into our curriculum,” Coomes said. “I’m hoping this recognition will create more partnerships for our program and inspire other OPS schools to start a garden.”

Coomes was recognized earlier this month at the KACD convention in Louisville.