Lifelong learning, service award goes to Durham outdoor educator

Lifelong learning, service award goes to Durham outdoor educator

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MIDDLEFIELD — Lorrie Martin was recognized recently as this year’s Howard Kelley Award recipient for her pursuit of lifelong learning and service to others. 

The annual award is presented by the Coginchaug Valley Educational Foundation to a Durham or Middlefield resident. This year’s reception was held Dec. 6 at the Indian Springs Golf Course. 

“The thing that sets Lorrie apart is that she uses each and every one of her skills to help and inspire others,” said Sharon Berndt in her letter nominating Martin. “Lorrie has touched many lives in our community and has helped countless individuals by generously sharing her knowledge and talents.”

The Durham resident is an outdoor education specialist who taught in Regional School District 13 for more than a decade,  retiring a few years ago. She still gets back to school for special outdoor programs, and calls herself “semi-retired.”

In her acceptance speech, Martin said she felt humbled to be receiving the award.

“Howard Kelley would have wanted me to recognize each and every one of you as well and allow you to rightfully share this honor with me,” Martin said. 

Martin created the Outdoor Education Center in District 13. The center teaches students about the plants, insects and other animals native to the area.

“From the very start when we designed the program for the District in 1977, ‘outdoor’ has always meant to me not just frogs, fish and science… but authentic learning, linked to the world outside the classroom door,” Martin said.

Berndt said Martin has inspired many students to pursue careers in the biological sciences. 

“Lorrie is one of the most enthusiastic learners and educators I have ever known,” Berndt said.

Berndt said Martin is a personal lifelong learner, and that there is “nothing she cannot learn by researching a topic and practicing it.” Beyond academics, Martin is a musician, singer, artist, baker, writer, gardener, beekeeper and maker of maple syrup, according to Berndt. 

The award honors the memory of Howard Kelley, the first Superintendent of Schools in District 13 and a founder of CVEF.
Twitter: @baileyfaywright


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