Rob Karner, a biology teacher at The Leelanau School, a private boarding school located north of Glen Arbor, won the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council’s (NMEAC) award for Environmentalist of the Year in education on Friday, April 16. The Glen Arbor resident is also a watershed biologist with the Glen Lake Association.
“I was surprised and honored,” Karner told the Glen Arbor Sun. “It is because of the open minds and flexible structure of Leelanau and the Glen Lake Association, and the superb people that I report to and work with, that enable me to pursue my professional dreams.
“My students crave being on location, in the wilds of nature, taking in so much more than the two-dimensional aspect of their texts and screens. They can smell, feel, hear, touch, and see so much more when they do biology vs. talk about it.”
Karner has taken students from The Leelanau School on environmental trips to the Virgin Islands and to the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah, among other picturesque destinations.
“Teaching and being a watershed biologist have great rewards. I have worked for 34 years and I cannot remember a day when I was not in the clouds — dreaming about the next field trip, the next adventure, the next time to make biology real to all ages.”