Eureka teacher awarded Toyota Tapestry Grant

EUREKA - A local teacher's idea to raise student-environmental literacy levels through a series of field trips has attracted a $10,000 TAPESTRY grant from Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc.

Jeff Self, a Washington Elementary School teacher, is one of 50 winners nationwide to receive a 2000 Toyota TAPESTRY grant. Funded by Toyota and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the grants total nearly $500,000 and enhance the teaching of science in the areas of environmental education and physical science. Self's project was selected by a panel of science educators from more than 700 proposals.

Toyota TAPESTRY is the largest K- 12 science teacher grant program in the country. Since the program's inception in 1990 it has awarded teaching grants totaling nearly $4 million to teachers in 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As part of Self's project, fourth-grade science students and their families will take field trips to 20 unique environmental sites in Northern California's Humboldt County. After researching the environmental sites, students will develop, write and organize hands-on, minds-on activities and draw maps for each of the 20 sites.

Self teaches all subjects to fourth-grade students at Washington Elementary School, where he has been teaching for 14 years. Assisting on the project are fellow Washington Elementary School teachers, Cathy Westphal, Martin Goddi, Kathy Dimick and Mary Pigeon.

"In the past 10 years, innovative TAPESTRY projects have been awarded throughout the United States and its territories -- in urban and rural areas -- to 393 teams of teachers," said Gloria Jahn, TMS Corporate Manager Corporate Philanthropy and Internal Communications. "Toyota is proud to be a part of a program that directly supports teachers' creativity with their students and in their communities."

"NSTA is pleased to celebrate the IOth anniversary of this wonderful program with the announcement of the 50 winners for the year 2000," said Emma Walton, president of NSTA. "We congratulate the awardees and thank Toyota for supporting innovative science education at the grass roots level through its partnership with NSTA."

NSTA, headquartered in Arlington, Va., is dedicated to improving science education at all levels. Its 50,000-plus membership includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives.

Toyota TAPESTRY is just one program that demonstrates Toyota's commitment to education. In 1999, Toyota contributed more than $16.9 million to U.S. charities, with more than 60 percent funding education.