Phyllis Schunck, volunteer and creator of 'Forest Club'


Phyllis has shown amazing long-term dedication to the "Casis Forest" and getting kids outdoors in nature, where they benefit from unstructured play. Phyllis has been involved with the Casis Elementary School Forest for many decades: first as a parent, then as a grandparent, and for the past five years as the volunteer Land Steward and “fairy godmother” of the Forest. If you ask almost any student at Casis Elementary what they love best about their school, most will answer “The Forest!” The Forest is three acres of undeveloped land owned by AISD and attached to the Casis Elementary School grounds. Phyllis started managing the land during a critical time when trees and vegetation were dying from erosion and drought conditions. She worked with teachers to recruit students as stewards of their beloved forest, and raised money for improvements.

Over the past five years, an estimated 1,200 kids have had sustained access to this incredible outdoor learning laboratory. Phyllis is a wealth of enthusiasm, knowledge and humor, and serves as a positive role model for the children who always love being in and helping their forest.


Like Westcave, which has been inspiring children and adults for decades, this award recognizes that there are many who have been toiling in the Children and Nature field for many years.