Wednesday, September 17, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 27
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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on June 13th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 14

Pioneer Valley's Magni keeps bringing in the awards

BY AMY ASMAN

Pioneer Valley High School science teacher Riccardo Magni is having the best year ever. Last month, he was named Santa Barbara County’s Teacher of the Year, and he raked in several grants for his students.


End of an era:
Nipomo High School’s graduating Titans took the field on June 8 to accept their diplomas, joining thousands of other graduates throughout the Central Coast.
PHOTO BY KRISTINA SEWELL

On June 6, Magni received a presidential award plaque from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a ceremony in Santa Maria. He was the only award winner from California, and one of just 18 instructors recognized nationwide.

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators program is the product of a partnership between the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the EPA.

“I feel very honored to be named county teacher of the year, but now to receive this national award, it’s very, very humbling,” Magni said.

He was the only winner from EPA’s Pacific Southwestern region, which includes California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, and all the Pacific territories.

“That’s, like, 49 million people,” Magni said. “So for me to be the top environmental educator among all those people, it’s just crazy. But it feels good because I work really hard and there are other people who agree.”

One of those people is EPA’s Pacific Southwest regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld.

“Mr. Magni is working to prepare students to be future leaders in protecting the environment, and we are all fortunate to have teachers like him,” Blumenfeld said in a press release. “I am thrilled to recognize his achievements, including his work to create water monitoring projects at Jim May Park and the Summer Science Research Institute.”

Magni’s students started doing monthly testing of a pond at Jim May Park. They sample the water for environmental factors, analyze the data, and share results with a local elementary school. Magni also leads field trips to the Avila Sea Life Center, where students participate in workshops, collect ocean water samples, and study sea life. He recently founded the Summer Science Research Institute, a six-week summer program during which students have built a wind turbine and a wave energy device to extract energy from the ocean.

EPA award winners receive a $2,000 cash prize in addition to the commemorative plaque. The teacher’s school also receives $2,000 to use for environmental education programs.

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District nominated Magni for the award, and the district board adopted a resolution of recognition for the teacher.

The resolution stated, “Riccardo Magni has brought great honor to Pioneer Valley High School, the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, and Santa Barbara County in his leadership in environmental education and through all the achievements that resulted in his selection for this award.”