B.S. Missouri State University, Biology, 2005
Sarah R. Johnson is the Field Based and Experiential Learning Coordinator at Western Colorado University where she directs the Mountain Resilience Semester. Through Wild Rose Education, she also is a freelance science educator of watershed science, civics and geography; climate change, Arctic weather and climate, public lands, and environmental education. She designs and facilitates educator professional development workshops, leads virtual (and in-person) Leave No Trace Trainer courses, is a lead instructor for the US Naval Sea Cadets Arctic Buoy STEM Program, and facilitates a rural Colorado Climate Change Educator Cohort in partnership with NOAA, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, and The Wild Center. She has created and facilitated numerous environmental education programs including the award winning Youth Water Leadership Program. She has been based in western Colorado working to protect rivers and public lands through education since 2004 where she enjoys playing outside during all seasons, gardening, and making music.
How did you discover Western?
I came to 2014 Headwaters Conference to hear poet Gary Snyder speak. I was welcomed into the Clark School ENVS community of professors and staff throughout that weekend, and I was hooked!
What are some of the highlights of your career?
A few highlights have included: being a PolarTREC Educator with the International Arctic Buoy Program, mentoring senior capstone project students, receiving an Innovative Environmental Education Program Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) for the Youth Water Leadership Program in 2020, serving on the CAEE Board of Directors for six years, and being selected to speak at the Earth Education for Sustainable Societies InTeGrate Meeting with the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carlton College in 2019.
What most excites you about your field?
Teaching students how to see and understand the world around them, the environment, then realize their place and how to actively participate in their community.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area are near and dear to my heart as it was in 2004 when I first came to the area to serve as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) interpretive ranger on the South Rim of the Black Canyon. After that experience, I knew I wanted to stay and become part of this community for years to come.