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Environmental educator receives fellowship 

Forest Hills — Patty Tolly, a sixth-grade teacher at Central Woodlands, has received a civics and environmental fellowship that will give her students the opportunity to explore water and how pollution impacts it.

Tolly was one of 30 recipients to receive the Civics and Environmental Education Change Fellowship, which is part of the national training initiative called ee360+, a partnership of the U.S. EPA and the North American Association for Environmental Education with more than 25 partners designed to strengthen the field of environmental education. 

Tolly’s project proposal was to have students delve into the chemical composition of water, explore the various phases water can undergo and study the effects of pollution, whether it’s related to water or air. 

The ultimate challenge, Tolly said, is for students to devise innovative solutions to address a specific pollution problem. 

“By actively engaging in solving environmental issues, students will recognize the urgency of becoming guardians of the Earth and appreciate the profound impact of human activities on our environment,” she said. 

Through the hands-on project, students will have to collaborate, communicate and utilize critical thinking skills, she said. 

Tolly has been at Forest Hills Public Schools for 29 years and has taught  sixth grade for the past 13. Tolly also has been involved with Grand Valley State University’s Groundswell Stewardship Initiative and last year received the “Ground SWELL” teacher of the year award.

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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