West Feliciana High teacher wins honor, trip from National Geographic program _lowres

Nicole Means

In recognition of her commitment to geographic education, Nicole Means, a social studies teacher at West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, was selected as one of the 2015 Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor teacher fellows.

Every year, kindergarten through 12th-grade educators are encouraged to apply for the professional development opportunity that allows them to bring geographic learning experiences back to their communities.

Means is one of 35 educators from the U.S. and Canada to receive the honor, according to a news release.

Later this year, she will embark on a 10-day journey aboard the National Geographic Endeavor bound for the Galapagos Islands for a one-of-a-kind field experience accompanied by Lindblad-National Geographic expedition experts who range from undersea specialists to National Geographic photographers.

The fellows will be immersed in landscapes, cultures and wildlife unique to their regions of exploration.

The expedition will provide Means with knowledge she can share with her West Feliciana classroom and integrate into her lesson plans, the release said.

Means is National Board certified and teaches secondary social studies courses.

“I’m passionate about instilling global citizenship in my students,” said Means, who founded the school’s International Club, which enables students to participate in cost-friendly international travel opportunities.

In her quest to learn more about global environmental issues, Means has traveled to Japan, India and Germany as a recipient of various educational fellowships.

Before the voyage aboard Endeavor, she will travel to National Geographic Society’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in hands-on workshops covering photography and outreach planning. She’ll also have the opportunity to meet Lindblad Expeditions’ naturalists and to network with previous years’ fellows.

“The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is one that strongly aligns with what National Geographic is trying to accomplish overall as an organization: improving society by enhancing geographic competency,” said Melina Bellows, chief education officer of National Geographic. “The fellows are not only given a great honor but also a great responsibility. I look forward to hearing about their experiences and seeing how they leave their mark on geographic education.”

This year marks the ninth of the Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program, established to honor former NGS Chairman Gilbert M. Grosvenor’s lifetime commitment to geographic education.

The program began with two fellows in 2007 and has grown each year. The expeditions were donated in perpetuity to the NGS by Sven-Olof Lindblad and Lindblad Expeditions to mark Grosvenor’s 75th birthday in 2006 and to honor his service to enhancing and improving geographic education. Additional support for the 2015 program is provided by Google and private funders.

Lindblad Expeditions are specialists in expedition travel that work in alliance with the NGS to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. As pioneers of global exploration, their collaboration in research, technology and conservation provides extraordinary travel experiences and disseminates geographic knowledge around the globe, the release said.

Their educationally oriented voyages to all seven continents allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.

For a list of all 2015 fellows, visit education.nationalgeographic.com/education/2015-grosvenor-teacher-fellow-bios.