Leslie Bucar

Home state: Minnesota
Organization or Facility: Duluth YMCA Key Zone/Stowe Elementary School/Gary-New Duluth Rec Center
Grade(s): K-7; ages 5-12
Subject(s): Environmental science and outdoor education
Describe your current role as an informal educator. How does your role support the mission of the organization?

I am the after school coordinator for the YMCA Key Zone at Stowe Elementary School and the Youth Director for the Gary-New Duluth Recreation Center.  I teach environmental science to the after school youth and area youth.  The motto of Stowe is “Educational Excellence with an Environmental Emphasis”.  My programming supports Stowe’s mission to include nature in programming.  The YMCA promotes empowering young people and improving health and wellbeing.

How did you get to where you are? Describe the career path that lead to your current position.

I have undergraduate degrees in biology and teaching life science from UMD.  I taught grades 7-12 science at the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School for 7 years.  I took some time off to raise my kids, and then attended UMD’s graduate school and got my master’s degree in Environmental Education.  My research and co-authorship of another research project brought me to Stowe Elementary.

Describe a favorite Great Lakes activity or event that you do or facilitate.

My students really love a game called “The Lake Superior Game” that was put out by Minnesota Sea Grant to explore the resources of the Great Lakes and the need for all of us to protect them.

If relevant, how does your work complement what K-12 science educators are doing in the classroom?

My role at the school is not just to run all the after school programming, but also to be a mentor and resource to all the teachers in the building when they want to incorporate environmental education into their curriculum.

What is the most important message about the Great Lakes you share with visitors, students, citizens, etc.?

I think the most important message is that we have to respect and be stewards of the resources and nature that the Great Lakes afford us.  We live in a very special place, and we should never take that for granted.

Contact Leslie Bucar: [email protected]