Above, North Lake College's sustainability project coordinator Brandon Morton, center, accepts award from Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer and Keep Irving Beautiful's Margie Stipes. Courtesy of North Lake College.

Aug. 28, 2017

Brandon Morton loves to teach others – especially North Lake College students and employees – about sustainability. His dedication and those instructional efforts earned Morton the 2017 Mayor and Keep Irving Beautiful Educator Award, which he received this August.

It’s a trend started last year by Katherine Villarreal, adjunct professor of mathematics and NLC’s service learning coordinator, who won the same award from KIB.

“This award recognition is an opportunity for me to highlight North Lake’s sustainability program and the amazing work of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton, who is North Lake’s sustainability project coordinator. “The recognition I received is just a bonus, and I am very honored that my colleagues nominated me for this award. I’m in great company, too, because last year’s award went to another North Lake College educator, Katherine Villarreal.”

Morton’s nomination featured nine different programs, projects and efforts in both education and community relations to educate others about sustainability.

Among those efforts, Morton has designed and led training workshops for college and district faculty in sustainability across the curriculum since 2014. 

“Sustainability across the curriculum” was adopted by the DCCCD Sustainability Team in 2016 and will be part of this year’s district Conference Day activities as well. He also designs and leads training workshops and workgroups for sustainability assessment in facilities, operations, policies and purchasing that are attended by college and DCCCD staff members.

He also manages the SAGE Scholars program, which earns graduation recognition for students who are enrolled in sustainability awareness and global education coursework. Morton provides education resource support; collaborates with more than 70 faculty members in 17 different disciplines and degree programs; provides staff training; creates resources for advising used by student life staff members and orientation leaders; and advises students who are interested in international or sustainability careers.

More than 130 students have earned the SAGE Scholars green cord, and SAGE Scholars received the 2016 NISOD Innovation Excellence Award.

Morton also has designed a middle-school-level curriculum in community development and environmental conservation for summer bridge programs and the NLC Girl Scouts STEM Camp. He is the co-author of Feasted Landscapes: Sustainability in American Topics and Our Finite Bounty, both published by Kendall Hunt and used at North Lake College.  He is an adjunct instructor of biology at NLC; serves as president of the board of directors for the Sustainability Management Association; serves on the executive board for the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club; and will talk about “Global Sustainability Education and Technology Development” during the annual Future Without Poverty Summit in Costa Rica, which will be held Oct. 3-8 this fall.

North Lake College and Keep Irving Beautiful have been partners in environmental stewardship for more than 25 years.

“NLC students, faculty and staff volunteer to clean up the Trinity River, repair or paint city parks facilities, and maintain a KIB Adopt-a-Spot location on NLC’s Central and South campuses,” said Morton. “Keep Irving Beautiful helps bring together various stakeholders in the community for environmental beautification, recycling education and tree conservation.”

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