Laura Alexander

Colby Sawyer College

Laura Alexander was nominated by a former student who 
studied under her guidance at Colby Sawyer College. He credits her for 
having inspired a curiosity about the natural world in all of her students, 
including his own appreciation for nature and sense of place. Another 
former student explains that the courses he took with this professor, as 
well as her “contagious dedication and enthusiasm for environmental 
education […], continue to influence [him] in [his] professional career.” 

At Colby Sawyer College, she has worked to expand the field 
study opportunities of her students, and has recently worked with her 
department to generate a proposal for a distance learning degree in 
Environmental Science. As evidenced through the Community-Based Research 
Projects she has led, as well as her participation in conservation groups 
such as the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust, she engages both 
personally and professionally to advance environmental science in the 
community. Her specific focus is often on the flora of an area, and their 
use as ecological indicators. She recommends that her students use a field 
guide along with a map when trying to orient themselves in a new place. 

Where we to try and orient ourselves at Colby Sawyer College today, we might 
want to access the ‘virtual herbarium’ first—an online guide to local flora 
that she designed herself—before touring a locally harvested post and beam 
structure that students are building, the sustainability garden, and the 
maple sugaring house. Her students see a direct correlation between these 
new initiatives on campus and her involvement with the College. 

We are very proud to award the NHEE Non-Formal/Higher Learning Educator of the Year to 
Laura Alexander, who in the words of one student, “inspires students as 
well as colleagues, advances environmental education, teaches with 
enthusiasm and innovation, and is personally committed to environmental 
issues and causes.”