Educator and Green Team founder honored with tree at Twin Lakes Academy Elementary

By Angela Higginbotham

Twin Lakes Academy Elementary recently honored teacher Marcia Rivas for her many contributions to the school including forming the school’s award winning Green Team in 2009. The Green Team encourages kids to be educated and aware of the environment and is made up of fourth graders who have a growing passion for their environment.

A live oak tree was recently planted on school grounds in honor of Rivas, who retired in 2016. An elementary education graduate of Florida State University, Rivas taught at three schools over her career, and is honored to be recognized so profoundly by Twin Lakes Academy Elementary.

“Growing up in Michigan in an agricultural environment, my parents always encouraged my siblings and me to be outside and do our part to help take care of the environment,” Rivas said.

A self proclaimed science nerd, Rivas has always enjoyed being outside and involved with nature. As a science teacher, she was passionate about incorporating her love of nature into her classroom. Among other awards and accomplishments, Rivas received the 2015 Jax Environmental Protection Board’s Environmental Champion Award.
“I am very honored to be recognized with this beautiful tree and I’m thankful to Greenscape for donating it,” Rivas said. “I thought I was going in for a meeting and was very surprised when I found out about the tree.”

Rivas and her beloved late husband, Richard, were married for 19 years and have three children. She’s enjoying her retirement thus far and plans to visit the school often while staying involved with the Green Team.

“I will continue to join the Green Team for street cleanups and offer them advice,” Rivas said.

Rivas stays busy with family and plans to become more involved with nonprofit work during her retirement. She often joins her brother, founder of the Clean Waterway Society, in his efforts to keep the environment clean. Rivas has hopes of volunteering at the Jacksonville Zoo and is interested in beekeeping and sea turtles.
The tree planted in honor of Rivas will bring beauty and shade to the playground of Twin Lakes Academy Elementary for many years to come.

“It has a beautiful friendship bench around it and I hope the children enjoy sitting on the bench when they are on the playground,” Rivas said.

Photo by Angela Higginbotham

Marcia Rivas and the tree planted in her honor at Twin Lakes Academy Elementary.