News from Maine: Teacher of the Year, Films about Children and Nature

About the Author

Susan Sachs Lipman (Suz) has more than 25 years experience as a writer, editor, social media manager, community builder, and advocate for getting children into nature. She is the author of Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, which was named a TIME magazine Top 10 Trend of 2012. She has written for the New York Times Motherlode blog, the Christian Science Monitor’s Modern Parenthood blog and others. Suz serves as the Director of Social Media Promotion and Partnerships for the Children & Nature Network.

Three finalists have been announced for the 2012 Maine Teacher of the Year award. They are Ingrid Stressenger, a 4th grade teacher at Pond Cove School in Cape Elizabeth; Tim Eisenhart, a 9th grade mathematics teacher at Westbrook High School; and Alana Margeson, a 10-11th grade English teacher at Caribou High School. Ingrid Stressenger is a member of the Natural Teachers Network on C&NN Connect.

Stressenger is in her sixth year of taking students to a local forest for environmental learning three times a year, a program she says promotes science learning as well as stewardship. As part of her presentation for the award, Stressenger recorded her students relating why they find outdoor spaces more memorable than indoor spaces.

Clips of Camilla Rockwell’s film Mother Nature’s Child, which explores nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development, and includes C&NN Founding Chair Richard Louv, among many others, were also used to bolster Ingrid Stressenger’s nomination and selection as a Teacher of the Year finalist.

Play Again, another film that supports the children and nature movement, is also involved in Maine education. Meg Merrill and the filmmakers of Play Again received a grant from the Quimby Family Foundation for the Maine Educational Outreach Campaign. Play Again explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds by “unplugging” a group of teenagers and taking them on a wilderness adventure. The film also includes Richard Louv and C&NN’s Brother Yusuf Burgess, among others.

Upcoming screenings of Play Again and Mother Nature’s Child are listed on their web sites and on C&NN Connect.


  1. Originally from Maine, a former teacher myself, (and a graduate of Cape Elizabeth HS), I am extremely proud of these young people and their accomplishments.

  2. Suz Lipman

    Hi there! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Your blog is lovely. Maine is a very special place — I’ve had opportunities to visit from California. I’m also proud and happy about what is happening there in the areas of education and getting kids out in nature.


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