Dr. Lynn Hoekstra of Columbia has been named the 2019 South Carolina Project Learning Tree Jerry L. Shrum Outstanding Educator of the Year. She was selected by the South Carolina PLT Steering Committee in May.

Hoekstra is a professor of education and Teacher Education Program Director at Columbia International University, where she has included PLT Early Childhood curriculum training in her syllabus for the past four years.

In 2018, she became certified as a PLT, Project WET, and Project WILD facilitator, and since then, she has co-facilitated two pre-K-8 curriculum workshops for pre-service educators at Columbia College and an early childhood PLT workshop at CIU for pre-service teachers and local child development center staff members.

Hoekstra was born and raised on her family’s farm in Illinois, where she first learned to treat the land with respect. As a middle school teacher in Michigan, Hoekstra developed an appreciation for the habitat and landscape of the Lake Michigan dunes while leading student field experiences. This contributed to the development of Hoekstra’s personal feeling of responsibility toward the environment and a desire to protect the resources of our planet.

Living in southern California for a time helped Hoekstra become more aware of the need to conserve water and green space. Because of these formative experiences, Hoekstra is committed to helping students, teachers, and teachers-in-training learn more about the natural world and appreciate the importance of being good stewards of the earth.

Hoekstra will accept her award November 8 at the Forestry Association of South Carolina’s annual meeting on Isle of Palms.