Broward Virtual School Wins National ING Unsung Heroes Award

Created: 9/28/2012 9:14:20 AM Updated: 12:00:00 AM

Broward County Public Schools Broward Virtual School (BVS) was recently selected as an ING Unsung Hero grant recipient for its Bringing Environmentally Sound Transformation (BEST) program initiative. The ING Unsung Heroes Award Program rewards only 100 recipients each year for projects that demonstrate innovation, creativity and have a positive impact on students.

BVS was one of only three schools in Florida, and the only Broward School to receive the 2012 award. As a top 100 winner, BVS received a $2,000 grant from ING Unsung Heroes to bring its BEST program initiative to life.

Christopher Gates, technology specialist, and Dr. Dierdre Wilson, school counselor, developed the winning program, "BEST" as an 11-month study and conservation initiative focusing on environmental issues and protection. Students in the program at BVS will become advocates in protecting the landscape for birds, fish, animals and wildlife that depend on special habitats. By researching causes and initiating solutions to address various environmental issues, students will participate in an action plan to restore beaches, coastlines and natural preserves for wildlife and people.

The plan, which includes field trips to the beach and shoreline for cleanups led by local environmental staff along with research and discovery days, will provide opportunities for students to learn about animals, ecosystems and the environment. As a long-term commitment to the program, students will volunteer to adopt a street in the community to clean and remove trash several times a year over a two-year period, adding environmental stewardship to the experience. Gates and Wilson hope this hands-on effort and experiences will help to inform and empower students and others of what they can do to help save the planet.

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