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Melissa Powell-Riedl of Burbank Elementary School and Michele Ferrel of Ann H. Kilgore Gifted Center receive the Green Star Teacher award


Melissa Powell-Riedl, kindergarten teacher at Burbank Elementary School, and Michele Ferrel fourth grade teacher at Ann H. Kilgore Gifted Center, recently received the Green Star Teacher award from askHRgreen. Powell-Riedl was nominated by her assistant principal, Dr. LaTonya Harris. Ferrel was nominated by her co-worker, fourth grade teacher Paula Larson.


The award was presented to 10 educators to mark the 10th year of askHRgreen educating Hampton Roads residents about all things green. Each winner receives an award of $1,000 to cover supplies, classroom resources, or funding to underwrite a dynamic “green” student-driven initiative.


Harris shared the following about Powell-Riedl, “Each day, Mrs. Powell-Reidl's class recycles paper scraps. She always stresses the connection to saving trees. She encourages all faculty and staff to do the same. Mrs. Powell-Riedl collects and recycles all plastic from breakfast and lunch provided by the cafeteria. She often takes her students on nature walks and has bird feeders outside of the classroom to teach her students about birds. Each spring, she shows her students the mallard’s nest (located on school grounds) and they watch the eggs hatch and the ducklings grow. She shows her students how to take care of the frogs and insects that cross their path on the playground by teaching them that they can easily transport the living creature to a new location instead of destroying it. She shows the children how to safely move spiders outside and teaches them why they are important. She happily volunteers her time to take care of recycling of materials all over our campus. We are so grateful to have her as a part of our Burbank Family!”


Ferrel said, “Environmental education is my passion and I enjoy seeing the excitement of my students as they learn about the world around them.”


Some of Ferrel’s projects include:

  • Raising oysters and trout (field trips to release each)
  • Sponsoring the Ecology Club and recycling program at Kilgore
  • Maintaining a pond, butterfly garden, vegetable garden, and active compost (students contribute from home and lunch)
  • Coordinating of student research on environmental topics and student presentations at an environmental fair at Kilgore
  • Assisting in obtaining beehives and assisting with the Kilgore Bee Club
  • Arranging field trips to Fort Monroe beach and landfill
  • Conducting litter pick-ups throughout the year
  • Inviting guest speakers to speak to students about environmental topics

Larson says, “Ms. Ferrel puts forth tremendous time and effort into her school and her students; they take on and share her passion and understanding of how their actions impact the environment.”


Congratulations to both of these educators on this special recognition and award!