In the weeks leading up to the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council will feature each of this year’s five awardees, along with a local group receiving special recognition. The Connoquenessing Watershed Alliance, Crawford County Riparian Restoration Program, Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, and Edward Schroth will be honored as this year’s award recipients, while the Garden Club of Allegheny County will be presented with special recognition at the May 26 ceremony at Pittsburgh’s Westin Hotel and Convention Center. Edward Schroth is featured in this week’s installment.
Edward F. Schroth
For more than 50 years, Ed Schroth has been a force in environmental education in Western Pennsylvania with few equals.
He has dedicated his life to environmental education and outreach, first as a teacher of biology, water ecology, and environmental science at Quaker Valley High School, and later at Duquesne University.
Mr. Schroth was a pioneer in experiential learning, incorporating it into his curriculum long before it became popular. At Quaker Valley, he started the “Up the Creek Gang,” a project where students studied the ecology of Little Sewickley Creek and its watershed. He later created “Up the Creek Goes International,” where he teamed with the China Association for Science and Technology to take high school students to Beijing and Qingdao, China for environmental studies three times.
At Duquesne University, he began teaching Stream Field Biology, where he engaged students in environmental projects. He also created a core class for non-science majors called “Energy and the Environment.” One of his projects, “Solving Environmental Mysteries Using Science,” was a summer camp that introduced inner city middle school students to environmental science. Mr. Schroth’s enthusiasm for teaching led to the creation of a number of other projects, including Little Sewickley Creek, Wingfield Pine, the Ball Park Urban Farm, and Exploring the Environment of China.
Through Mr. Schroth’s passion for environmental education and his unique teaching style, students get firsthand experience at data collection and measurements. As a leader in service learning, he has set the standard for student-community engagement with such organizations as the Allegheny Land Trust, the Little Sewickley Creek Watershed, and others.
His work with students has increased our basic understanding of local ecosystems, providing essential information allowing for the improvement of these environments. On a broader scale, his teaching has instilled a philosophy of environmental stewardship based on sound scientific knowledge. Beyond that, his career of over five decades has led to the public’s deeper understanding, concern, and awareness of local watersheds and their impact on our quality of life. His volunteer service has influenced policy and actions to protect the local environment.
Mr. Schroth is the recipient of the Carnegie Science Center’s Secondary Science Educator award and honorable mention for Outstanding University Science Teacher.