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Linda Hardee - Featured Volunteer05-08

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Volunteer Spotlight

Madison County SWCD supervisor presents certificate to Linda.Linda Hardee - Huntsville, Alabama

Linda Hardee, a teacher of Gifted students at Highlands Elementary School, is no stranger to Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Ever since she attended the second annual environmental education teach workshop in 2000, this wonderful lady has been volunteering her time and talents to make sure every workshop is a success.

It is not at all surprising that she has received enough awards and certificates of appreciation to paper her classroom walls. The photo to the right shows her accepting a certificate from Madison County SWCD Supervisor Jeannie Harvey in 2007.

Linda makes sure the teachers are ready for the day at the teacher workshops.Linda has developed innovative ways to help teachers attending the workshops take home the enthusiasm and knowledge they learned during the week. She brings her own camera and laptop computer to the training sessions and follows the attendees all week making pictures and notes about the activities and field trips.

She transfers the photos into a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the success of the current workshop, burns CDs for each attending teacher, and delights each one with a copy before they leave the workshop on Friday. Needless to say, she spends many hours of her own time working during the evenings to create this little piece of the event for the teachers to take home.

She is a tireless volunteer. She comes in early every day to the workshop and stays late to ensure that the classroom is ready for the teachers the next day. She also teaches several of the segments of the workshop each year.

Linda is not only a great volunteer and teacher, she gets involved with her student's education.  Many of her pupils can't afford fees for field trips, but she knows how important it is for students to have the same opportunities.  She helps seek out grants that help pay the field trip fees, thus allowing some of her students to see things that they may have only read about.

Once when Linda's students were were studying about "Veterans Day" and were inquisitive about what that meant, she took the initiative to give the students a personal experience of what "Veteran's Day" was all about.  She contacted Kathy Walker, Madison County SWCD District Administrative Coordinator, for a little help.  Kathy was the President of the local Kiwanis group at that time and she arranged for the Kiwanis group to take Linda's class to NASA.  There they saw transport planes, large enough for several school buses to fit into, that flew the troops overseas. They climbed into helicopters and visited the control tower.  The students came away with an idea of some things that a veterans may experience.

Gourm and Linda Hardee glean all the information they can in the summer and share it with others.Linda is a powerful force alone, but when she is paired with her husband, Gourm Hardee, a retired policemen, they create a strong team.

Gourm is an avid hiker and historian. He has lead many hikes for the teacher workshops.  He does his homework before he conducts a hike. He searches out landmarks and points of interest and shows them to the group.  This gives the teachers extra bits of information about the environment around them that they can incorporate into their curriculum.

Both Linda and Gourm have been trained by Alabama Water Watch, a statewide program dedicated to developing citizen volunteer monitoring of Alabama's lakes, streams, and coasts. 

Linda and Gourm realize how important environmental education is today. They also know that many teachers do not have abundant resources for the subject. This is one of the reasons the couple uses the majority of their summer vacation taking new environmental classes and sharing the information with others.

Thank you to Linda and Gourm Hardee for being such wonderful Earth Team Volunteers.