Lily Dancy-Jones — Environmental Educator of the Year 2019

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has named LILY DANCY-JONES the 2019 Environmental Educator of the Year.  She will receive the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award for her outstanding ongoing commitment to advance environmental education in the classroom and the public sphere in Buncombe County, North Carolina.

Using her college studies, undergraduate research, STEP internship and professional development programs, Lily has been working with students at Clyde A. Erwin High School in Asheville since 2013.  She teaches Biology, Biology Honors, AP Environmental Science, and Earth/Environmental Science classes.


In Spring 2016, Lily started a pollinator garden project at Erwin H.S.  She has acquired plants, organized workdays, and taught diverse groups of students about pollinator ecology.  She networks with organizations, such as Asheville GreenWorks and the NC Arboretum.

Lily has been inspired to reach rural populations in Asheville’s surrounding areas which serve schools such as Erwin.  She established and sponsored an Eco Club during her first year at Erwin.  Club members and AP science class students helped create the initial pollinator garden AND two additional ones!  Erwin is a certified Monarch Waystation, a Schoolyard Habitat with National Wildlife Federation, and a Pollinator Pitstop with NC Wildlife Federation.


During the 2016-2017 school year, Lily mentored a student who focused her senior project around pollinators.  Lily collaborated with an entomology professor at UNC-Asheville to plan and execute a lesson about butterfly life cycles.  These lessons were taught at the Erwin High School daycare.

Lily organized a station at the Buncombe County Schools “Celebrate STEM Event,” which is part of the NC Science Festival.  High school student volunteers assisted K-5 students in making bee hotels out of newspaper and toilet paper rolls.  She trained and monitored high school students and talked with parents.
In Fall 2016, Lily worked with a UNC-Asheville biology student to construct a permanent bee hotel as an entomology class project.  This included creating a garden sign to educate students and visitors about the importance of nesting sites for pollinators, such as mason bees.
Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, Lily worked with YES (Youth for Environmental Stewardship), which is a collective of high school environmental clubs in the Asheville area.  She chairs its Steering Committee.
In Spring 2019, Lily and her project received grant money for garden expansion.  Burt’s Bees, Buncombe County commissioners, and the Buncombe County Master Gardeners donated grant funding, with support from Asheville GreenWorks.
We hope to work with Lily and her students in the future.  We know they have more GREAT things to accomplish!