This week we're announcing WFAA's Project Green Eco-Educator winners for 2017!

These are teachers in the community who lead, create, and execute projects that educate students on green initiatives and improve the quality of the environment.

WFAA's Colleen Coyle surprised our K-5th grade winner Wednesday morning. Congratulations to Natalie Dhanoolal Rubio of Newton Rayzor Elementary School in Denton! Not only was she WFAA's K-5th Grade Winner, but Mrs. Dhanoolal also won Viewers' Choice!

Mrs. Dhanoolal oversees the school's Outdoor Learning Center. Students spend 50 percent of their science time outside in the garden. By doing this, they learn where their food comes from, the importance of composting, caring for chicken coops, and much more.

Students see that science is connected to many different things in their daily lives.

"They understand that science is not just this isolated thing. It's connected to everything that they do," Mrs. Dhanoolal said. "I see more connection to environmental literacy and their understanding of why it's important to take care of the environment."

The Outdoor Learning Center has also increased science test scores over the past year, while also providing students an opportunity to give back to the community.

All food from the garden is donated to a local food bank.

As this year’s K-5th & Viewers' Choice Eco-Educator, Mrs. Dhanoolal received $2,000 donated by WFAA Project Green and K. Hovnanian Homes to keep her project going! Congratulations!