Director of Teaching & Learning Miles Azzeh's Academic Spotlight: Emily Bucher
For the last year and a half, Miles has been highlighting the amazing instructional work that our teachers are doing with your students. These “Academic Spotlights” showcase the outstanding work our teachers are doing in their classrooms each day.
This week's academic spotlight shines on middle school art teacher Emily Bucher and her love for nature and wildlife. While most people may think art class isn't beneficial to the environment, Emily makes sure to use her class to aid in bringing awareness to wildlife conservation, something her father, a wildlife artist, instilled in her at a young age.
"As an outdoor enthusiast and animal lover, I quickly learned the value of my art skills and how my contribution can impact the great cause of wildlife conservation. I am inspired, like most humans, and thrive in nature," said Ms. Bucher.
I was fortunate enough to come watch Ms. Bucher as she thoroughly explained the directions to her class, which was fully engaged and attentive, answering student questions that popped up at different times. It was apparent how passionate she is about the Federal Duck Stamp program, specifically, the Federal Junior Duck Stamp art contest, where her students can submit their work.
"I am passionate about bringing awareness of the duck stamp and wildlife conservation to the public and into my classroom. With the massive influx seen in technology, specifically the instant access to imagery, it's more important than ever to continue the legacy of traditional wildlife art," said Ms. Bucher.
In addition to her classroom management and teaching skills, I was very impressed to see how she included academic skills that will be valuable in non-art classes, such as researching evidence and citing sources. Ms. Bucher was able to meld the life-long skills that our students need while learning and contributing to a better future for wildlife.
"When I teach the duck stamp, I tell my students you don't have to care about ducks and art, but there is power in caring about a cause bigger than yourself," said Ms. Bucher.
One way to know how a class/lesson is going is to observe and discuss it with the students as they interact. It was wonderful to listen to the students comment on how much they liked the activity and its purpose:
"The duck stamp is an excellent project to practice texture and realism. It is one of my favorites so far," said Tobias Yoakam
Students also highlighted how much they love the "creative freedom" they are afforded in Ms. Bucher's class:
"One of my favorite things about art class is the creative freedom Ms. Bucher gives us," said Emery Schmalbeck.
"This art class is one of my favorites because we can use whatever materials we want for our projects," said Ella Santiago.
Ms. Bucher's ability to use her class as a platform/outlet to improve the world is something we should all strive to do. She is not only making the students better artists but also better humans who can make a positive impact on the environment, which she encapsulated well by saying:
"Even better, humans have the power to help animals and our environment – we should all celebrate that!"
Thank you, Ms. Bucher, for all you do for Lansing and the environment.
If you would like more information on the Federal Duck Stamp Program, please click the following link: