Rachel Arens

Grosvenor Teacher Fellow

Rachael Arens teaches AP environmental science, anatomy/physiology, and plants/propagation at Northwest High School in Omaha, Nebraska, and is an Ed.D. candidate in teacher education. She holds graduate degrees in toxicology and secondary education. Rachael is passionate about empowering her students to become global citizens and environmental stewards through service learning and social action. To encourage global citizenship, she inspires students to develop critical thinking skills, curiosity, and empathy, and to view the world through a global lens. In the summers, she conducts environmental research on rain gardens and has earned funding for outdoor classrooms. She has encouraged her students to implement STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills to build rain gardens, community gardens, aquaponics systems, composting stations, orchards, and solar panels for their school. For the rain garden project, her class was recognized as a National Geographic Next Generation Environmental Leader and earned the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Award. Rachael also teaches other schools how to “green” their spaces, connecting the design process to curriculums. In recognition of her work, she has been named the 2018 Nebraska Teacher of the Year runner-up and received the 2018 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award from The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. She has written a chapter on environmental service learning for The Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Community Engagement and Outreach textbook and currently writes anatomy standards for the Nebraska Department of Education. She also serves as a board member for the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science and the Nebraska Green Schools Committee.

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