Executive Director, PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability)
Lauren Zappone Maples is a co-founder and executive director of PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability), a nonprofit operating in Austin, TX.
PEAS outdoor learning specialists partner with classroom teachers to implement various, high-quality academic learning programs. In addition to outdoor, garden, and kitchen lessons, the organization also runs and manages the PEAS Community and School Farm at Cunningham Elementary. Prior to PEAS, Lauren was a classroom teacher with Austin ISD, worked as an environmental educator for the City of Austin, and was also an adjunct professor at 2 local universities. Her passion for our environment and children’s education is impressively evident: in 2014, Lauren was the winner of the John F. Ahrns Award for Environmental Education from Austin’s Children in Nature Network Collaborative, and she also received the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Grant, which allowed her to spend a semester studying place-based outdoor education in New Zealand.
Then, in 2016, she won the Fulbright Alumni Grant where she extended her research into school garden programs in the US. As a result, Her research has been highly influential in the development of PEAS’ school day and community programs and long-range organizational goals. Lauren currently serves on Austin ISD’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and on the Central Texas School Garden Network’s Leadership Team.