Educator at CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Recognized Nationally

[caption id="attachment_3093" align="alignright" width="212"]Jan Forrest Kent Jan Forrest Kent[/caption]

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Jan Forrest Kent, program manager at Columbus State University’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, has been selected as one of five educators honored nationally by the American Forest Foundation.

Kent is  the eighth Georgia educator to receive an Outstanding Educator award from Project Learning Tree, the foundation’s national environmental education program,  since its inception in 1994.

PLT Outstanding Educators are selected for their commitment to environmental education, exemplary use of Project Learning Tree’s award-winning curriculum materials and exceptional teaching skills. Kent and the other honorees were recognized at a May 19-22 PLT conference in Traverse City, Mich. They were also invited to attend the World Forestry Center’s International Educators Institute in Portland, Ore., from July 13-19.

“Project Learning Tree is a wonderful tool that is used to help people gain a better understanding of our natural resources,” Kent said. “Being selected as one of the top educators is a huge honor and also very humbling. This curriculum is not only used across America but in other nations around the world as well.”

Kent was recognized for her strong commitment to using trees and forests to increase students’ understanding of the environment and the importance of natural resources. Through public, school and youth group programs at Oxbow Meadows, she has connected people of all ages to the natural world around them. Since she began organizing Oxbow Meadows’ outdoor and environmental education activities in 2011, the program has more than doubled in size.

“Education is Georgia’s key to a healthy forest, and Jan is playing a vital role in educating our citizens,” said Amanda Buice, a state Department of Education program specialist. “Her enthusiasm attracts learners of all ages, and she truly inspires those she teaches.”

In Georgia, Project Learning Tree is sponsored by the Georgia Forestry Association and its foundation, the Georgia Forestry Commission and the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is an outreach program of Columbus State, operated in collaboration with Columbus Water Works and the City of Columbus since 1995 at 3535 S. Lumpkin Road. It features indoor and outdoor exhibits of living reptiles and fish, nature trails, a stream habitat, two classroom-laboratories, an 86-seat auditorium, a pollinator garden, bee hives, environmental art and more. For more details, including upcoming events, visit

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