Shannon Russell Hardy is an 8th grade teacher working to “keep it real.” She has worked in rural and urban schools, but it was twenty years ago when she found her passion, Exploris. She is currently an 8th grade math and expedition teacher certified in ELA, Math, Social Studies, Gifted, National Boards Young Adolescent Generalist (2000, 2010 and 2019), and a principal’s license. She believes that ALL children benefit from time in the natural world, and that citizen science is service-learning. Her passion for both has driven her leadership in attaining the U.S. Green Ribbon for Exploris, and in co-coordinating a 10-part series for EdNC on school utility management, “Powered Schools”. She continues to support NC schools and universities applying for the U.S. Green Ribbon as a path to authentic student work in energy, water, soil, and ecosystems. Shannon prefers “problem” over “project” based learning. She has collaborated with SAS Curriculum Pathways, NCSU Public Science Lab, and co-founded the NC Museum of Natural Science PBL Fellows. She has been a NCMNS Educator of Excellence traveling to both Belize and Yellowstone. In 1995 she was one of the first American teachers to work through an exchange in Peterhoff, Russia during Perestroika, and has since traveled with Exploris to Japan and Germany. She champions Design for Change USA for their work in elevating student projects supporting United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This spring she was a featured teacher in PBLWorks “Remote Learning Webinar Series." Beyond teaching she has volunteered as a community advocate and PTA officer for Knightdale High. Shannon is a sloppy composter, gets walked by her dogs, and tries to do garage Crossfit with her own children (Exploris alumni) Brenna an accounting major and Dax a senior in high school.