NAHS graduate receives Educator of the Year award
Northampton Area High School graduate Rachel Iola Spagnola was named Educator of the Year at Schuylkill Conservation District’s annual awards program, held Aug. 21 at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park in Pine Grove.
Spagnola works as a senior educator at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. She joined the sanctuary in March 2008.
“It’s an honor. Teaching is my passion,” Spagnola said. “It’s my mission to connect people with our ecosystem, and I love working with our volunteers, members, visitors, conservation science trainees and our world-leading staff. This award would not be possible without the support of my team.”
According to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Spagnola is responsible for educational programming, raptor husbandry and training. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in special education, and a master’s degree in ecological teaching and learning.
According to Spagnola, the official raptor migration count takes place in Schuylkill County. She reported, since 1934, the sanctuary has been monitoring populations and generating new information about raptor migration ecology. Although the sanctuary is a popular tourist destination for hikers, photographers and nature lovers alike, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is an international conservation leader with a global reach.
“Rachel was nominated for her talent in connecting people of all ages to the beauty and wonder of raptors. This is evident in all of her programs and work at the sanctuary,” said Erin Brown, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary director of education.