By Mary Penna/ECHO  Note: This is another installment of the Faces of ECHO series, introducing you to the people who make the organization...

Faces of ECHO: Judy Allard

By Mary Penna/ECHO 

Note: This is another installment of the Faces of ECHO series, introducing you to the people who make the organization special. 

ECHO volunteer Judy Allard puts her skills to the test with a balance game at the
June 26 volunteer appreciation event. (Photo: Jessie Forand/ECHO)

You can find her at the lake or you can find her expanding her horizons. No matter where she is, volunteer Judy Allard is learning something. The former teacher understands the importance of education and has helped share it with ECHO guests for eight years now.
Allard underwent an extensive year-long training process to become a National Board Certified teacher, and taught for 38 years. She loves science and taught honors and AP biology at Burlington High School. A self-proclaimed “tough teacher,” she had high expectations for her students. She assigned a lot of writing assignments, and though it was challenging for them, she knew that her students would only blossom from the work.
“Educators are life-long learners because they have to keep teaching,” she said. 
In order to keep teaching, one must continuously refresh their knowledge and learn more. Especially with biology, as technology is constantly being updated. 
With extensive writing assignments comes a lot of reading for the teacher. Allard rarely read for pleasure between grading the work from her students and refreshing her knowledge of her own teaching materials. After she retired in 2007, she discovered a love of reading for pleasure.
“Reading is another form of learning” she said. Judy now reads as often as she can and even makes time for it as she peddles on her exercise bike, usually for at least an hour and a half each day.
Allard goes to most events put on by the Flynn Theater as well. In the next eight months she has plans to attend 45 different concerts. She spends her days visiting her siblings at their lake houses, where they love to eat and fish together. She once caught an eel.
Allard worked with the original Lake Champlain Science Center which was located in the Old Naval Reserve Training Facility or the “Old Blue Box," as she called it. She was asked to be part of ECHO as soon as the news of her retirement began to spread.
After a few times being asked, Allard finally came to volunteer at ECHO and loved it. It was a combination of everything she enjoyed – science, learning, and the beautiful lake. 
“I get to go to a great sight, a great place, work with great staff, and learn lots of new things every day” she said. 
Allard works with program development, the only volunteer in her department. She helps plan events and pilot many of our new and upcoming exhibits. Now, she is developing the invasive species exhibit, which will be coming this fall.
Allard also gives a lot of demonstrations and presentations at ECHO. For her presentations, she has to refresh her memory or learn new facts about the environment.
“This way I get to play science and do science but I don’t have to grade papers” she said. 
Her background in teaching helps her with demonstrations and program evaluation. She is comfortable in front of an audience and great at making the most out of her time in front of the crowds. 
When she is not volunteering at ECHO, Allard finds time to volunteer at her church and for a children’s program called Destination Imagination (DI), where she serves on the Board of Directors for the state of Vermont and keeps the score for every state meet. She loves to work with kids and work to enhance their knowledge in any way possible.

A huge thanks to ECHO social media and marketing intern Mary Penna for her work on this series and much more. Keep an eye out here to meet the Fall 2015 interns in the department, Erin Murphy and Rhea Hayes.

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