2018 Northern EE'er of the Year - Nicholas Bischoff
Nick treats his students and their parents like they’re members of his own family, always taking the extra moment to ask how their day or weekend was or give them a handshake and a smile. As a program director I constantly receive letters and phone calls from parents boasting about Nick’s kindness, hard work, honesty and enthusiasm. They constantly ask, “Where did you find him?” They invite him to their birthday parties and their kids’ baseball games and he shows up, cheers the loudest and thanks them for the invitation.
Nick is passionate about natural and local history and has contributed to the Santa Cruz field of Outdoor Education by developing curriculum that highlights fascinating pieces of our past so that kids can learn the stories behind the different environments they visit. His kids have especially loved learning about the bear cage and old fountain they discovered in a long abandoned zoo in Delaveaga Forest, the sea monster folklore fishermen used to tell about the Monterey submarine canyon, the legend of Mountain Charlie and his wrestle with a grizzly bear in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the rich Awaswas (Ohlone) history behind the sea shells and Monterey chert found in the shell mounds that rest in the meadows of Twin Gates, near the beds of Scott Creek, and on the cliffs of 4 Mile beach.
Nick is a life long learner, constantly searching for lectures and conferences to attend, and the latest environmental education books to read. He also regularly attends teacher training courses in subjects like outdoor leadership, LGBT allyship, classroom management in the outdoors and teambuilding.
Beyond all of this Nick is a committed student of social justice philosophies and practices and works hard to make sure all of his students feel safe and know that they are integral pieces of the group. He strives to be an ally to each and every child and to help teach his students how to love and care for each other.