Peter Dumont, recently named the Environmental Educator of the Year by New Hampshire's Environmental Association, not only has plants and a large aquarium in his classroom, but he and his students at NRHS enjoy their "squirrel mascot" as well. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
March 16, 2017BRISTOL — Science teacher Peter Dumont of Newfound Regional High School was recently named the Environmental Educator of the Year by New Hampshire's Environmental Association — an honor he well deserved, according to co-workers Amy Yeakel and Jen Dayhoff, who sent in the recommendation, and most importantly his students.
"When you ask Mr. Dumont what a word means, he doesn't just give you the definition, he gives you examples of it on top of that to make you really understand," said Mackenzie, a junior from New Hampton who has enjoyed two classes with Dumont. "There are about 80 high schools in the state and we're such a small school that when I heard he won, I said, 'Yeah- heck yeah!'"
Tyler, another junior from Bristol, also felt it was a good choice. Tyler said he didn't initially sign up for a science class with Dumont, but once he did, he was glad.
"It ended up being a lot of fun, so I took a horticulture class with him, too," he said.
A graduate of Keene State College, Dumont is in his 11th consecutive year of teaching at NRHS. Among the courses he currently offers are AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Sophomore Biology, Ecology and Horticulture. Next fall a Zoology class will be added to the list. He has also integrated technology used by professionals into his Ecology classes, such as how to use handheld GPS systems for mapping projects, skills he also brings to the Bridge Academy for incoming freshman each summer.
Besides those courses, Dumont also participates in the Project Promise Afterschool Program, teaching participants how to tie flies through a Trout Unlimited project and has introduced popular Hunter Safety classes to the community.
In addition to all of that, he also spends time with special needs students who help him maintain a large aquarium in his classroom.
"They really enjoy working with the fish, and that's been a nice experience for them," said Dumont.
Students in other classes appreciate the hands on experiences they get in Dumont's classes, too.
Brandon, who is a senior from Alexandria, has enjoyed both indoor and outdoor lessons in Dumont's Ecology class and said he thinks he is a "pretty cool" teacher.
"He's very fair and he does everything in a fun way that makes you want to learn what he's teaching," Brandon said.
Those words hit the mark on Dumont's philosophy about education. He said he feels it's important to develop relationships with his students and exude his own passion in order to enhance their learning experiences.
"If you're excited about something, sometimes that rubs off on the students," he said. "We have a lot of fun, and hopefully, by having some fun, they're learning along the way."
Passion is something Dumont certainly has for the sciences. When not in the classroom at NRHS he can be found at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Thornton during the summer months where he assists in a number of research projects.
"What's important to me is the connection that I've developed with Hubbard Brook and all the knowledge I've been able to bring back here to my students as a result," said Dumont.
While being named the New Hampshire Environmental Science Educator of the year is a great honor, it is not the first for Dumont. Four years ago, he also received the NRHS Distinguished Educator Award.
"That really meant a lot to me because it was voted on by the students of the Class of 2013," he said.