Dawn Ertl, science teacher at Butternut School District, was recently selected as one of 14 science teachers from across the country to travel on a marine educational fellowship to Costa Rica.
Ertl has been the sole science teacher at the Butternut School District for the past 15 years, and this particular experience was a way to revitalize her teaching and give her the ability to connect with other like minded educators. The focus of the eight-day trip in April was an educational experience learning about endangered leatherback sea turtles. The trip was organized by the non-profit organization Ecology Project International (EPI), a group that works with scientists, educators and students in Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Belize, Baja Mexico, and Yellowstone.
“It is just about the best teacher development program,” said Ertl. “They talk about how they are going through the science [and] there's the experience with saving an endangered species, being able to work with scientists through the data they are collecting, and also learn some new things I can do with my students. This whole project is to support the research; bringing people in to teach them the research and about ecology and good stewardship.