Sue Ellen Lyons
Holy Cross High School
New Orleans, Louisiana

During her 30-year teaching career, Sue Ellen Lyons has educated thousands of Louisiana students and citizens about the importance of wetlands and has involved them in countless conservation projects. In addition to her position as Science Department Chair at Holy Cross High School, she is Coordinator of the student environmental organization, Project FUR (Fight Urban Runoff). Project FUR, which was established in 1990, focuses on increasing public awareness and activism related to urban runoff and wetlands protection in coastal Louisiana; wetland restoration projects; and education of schools in the Greater New Orleans area about urban runoff and Louisiana’s wetland issues.

Through workshops, Lyons has taught hundreds of teachers how to educate their students about wetland functions and values. At the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, she co-teaches four weekend-long teacher workshops per year that include trips into the swamps and marshes around Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. Lyons also has co-authored a series of wetland teaching guides that use innovative educational strategies to enhance students’ creative and critical thinking skills.

Lyons is a member of numerous committees, commissions, and task forces. She is a co-founder of the Louisiana Environmental Education Interagency Committee, and she helped draft, and lobbied to pass, environmental education legislation for the state school system. She has been recognized with many awards and honors, including the Louisiana Governor’s Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.

—Anne Rheams, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation