Linda Beyt
University of Louisiana College of Education
Lafayette, Louisiana

Four years ago, Linda Beyt discovered a passion for wetland education and began a journey that has made her an educational leader, research partner, and instructor of university faculty. In that short time, she has kindled the minds of thousands with her own zeal and passion for wetlands.

A middle-school teacher of 23 years, Ms. Beyt began exploring wetlands in 1996 when she coordinated a grant to demonstrate Louisiana’s annual 25-35 square-mile loss of coastal wetlands. Recognizing her lack of wetland knowledge, she attended dozens of workshops and participated in a practicum at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center. She has shared her growing knowledge through more than 40 workshops, including Project WET, National Science Teachers Association Conference, and National Wildlife Federation Conservation Summit. She spent two years developing “Knee Deep in Louisiana Wetlands,” an interactive CD-ROM that has been distributed to all Louisiana middle schools.

Ms. Beyt volunteered her seventh grade class in 1997-1938 for a biodiversity program of the American Museum of Natural History. Ms. Beyt also participated in REEF Watch, an expedition to Florida’s coral reefs, and she suggested a hypothesis that a Bigelow Laboratory scientist in Maine is testing. In addition, she helped develop the Louisiana Wetland Education website. She is now a University of Louisiana instructor, training faculty from 19 universities to integrate technology and content. She also recently has been named Gulf Guardian of the Year by the Gulf of Mexico Program.

— Gaye Farris, U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center, Lafayette, Louisiana