May 25, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Sustainable Santa Monica Educator Snaps Up Green Leadership Award:

Growing up, marine scientist and marine biology teacher at Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica College Benjamin Kay says his mom inspired him to appreciate the environment through recycling, being green, and living sustainably.

Now as a 32-year-old, Kay has been instilling the same message to his students through his innovative classes and projects during and after school at SaMoHi and SMC.

It is this passion for teaching his students that earned him the 2011 Green California Schools Teacher Leadership Award on Monday.

“For my sixth grade science project, my mom and I did a water conservation project together,” Kay said. “She instilled in me a sense of the conservation ethic. That was a seed that later came to germinate when I got very passionate about recycling and reusing things, but not making major sacrifices to my standard of living.

“There’s a big misconception that you have to take away from your standard of living to live a greener lifestyle; it’s all about small changes to daily habits.”

Monday’s awards ceremony, held in Pasadena, recognized the outstanding accomplishments in sustainability by teachers across California colleges and school districts.

Kay won the Teacher Award for educating his students about aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and the human impacts that threaten their fragile existence.

His courses integrate inquiry-based methods, hands-on labs, field trips, and expert guest speakers, and frequent civic engagement opportunities.

“I integrate a service learning component in my classes, whereby students fulfill 20 percent of their grade by taking part in community-sponsored activities focused on science, research, sustainability, and the environment,” he said. “We attend beach clean-ups, restore coastal wetlands, recycle to buy water-purifying LifeStraws for other countries, monitor local ocean water quality, attend movie premieres, convert gas-guzzling cars to electric vehicles, and participate in cool events like the National Plug In Day Electric Car Parade this past Sunday.

“Engaging students in hands-on experiential learning has been one of the biggest and most successful parts of my career because it bolsters understanding and critical thinking about pressing environmental issues and needed solutions.”

He also takes on the mentor role for SaMoHi’s Team Marine after-school program, which is an eco-action group made up of students passionate about the environment.

“They were the ones who helped get single-use plastic bags banned in Santa Monica, advocate for marine protected areas to reduce the impacts of over-fishing, and promote solutions to climate change,” he said. “They’ve staged marches, done grand scale artwork using plastic bags and bottle caps, and encouraged sustainable changes at the district level.”

Kay teaches full-time at SaMoHi. Last spring he completed his first adjunct professorship at SMC where he taught marine science during the evening. He will return to teaching biology at SMC this spring.

Follow The Mirror on Twitter: twitter.com/SMMirror

Like The Mirror on Facebook: facebook.com/SMMirror

in News
Related Posts

John Adams Middle School Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

JAMS Student Grayson Fitzgerald named junior finalist for the 2022 middle school honors performance series at Carnegie Hall By Staff...

SMC Student Film “The War Within” Accepted into 2022 American Pavilion at Cannes

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Three Santa Monica College Films Will Screen at In-Person Festival, including 2021 Best Student Film Winner “Broken Layers” and 2020’s...

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...

Shared Mobility Plummets in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Recent report also shows that nearly half of riders make over $100,000 By Sam Catanzaro Shared mobility use in Santa...

Christopher Dishlip Selected as Santa Monica’s New Assistant Director of Public Works

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Public Works Director Rick Valte announced the selection of Christopher Dishlip as Santa Monica’s new Assistant Director of Public Works....

Letter to Editor: Response to Himmelrich’s “We Walk the Talk” Column

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Beau Marks As a Santa Monica resident, I am dismayed by Sue Himmelrich’s response (“We Walk the Talk,” Santa...

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...