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Winona teacher selected for conservation fellowship

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- A Winona teacher won a fellowship and the chance to get involved with conservation efforts in Costa Rica.

Cotter High School science teacher, Tammy Drazkowski, was one of only 14 educators nationwide to be selected for a fellowship with Ecology Project International.  EPI is a Montana-based, cultural exchange program partnering educators and students with conservation efforts across the globe.

The group just returned from an eight-day trip to Costa Rica where they tagged and researched leatherback turtles.

"I think you always have a passion for it and to do something like this, it just kind of reinvigorates it," said Drazkowski.

During the trip with EPI, Drazkowski met with local conservation groups and researched Leatherback Turtles. The team of teachers counted and measured the turtle and protected the turtle's nests, all while researching years of data from the site.

"It's amazing to see the adaptations that they have because they go down deep," said Drazkowski. "They go down two to three feet to lay their eggs."

Drazkowski said researching in the field is an invaluable learning experience she's ready to share with students.

"It's just an awesome opportunity and to be able to share that with other teachers, with family, with neighbors," said Drazkowski. "It's just an awesome opportunity that people should be able to take advantage of."

Drazkowski enjoyed the trip so much she has gained approval from the school to apply for next year's trip with a select number of students.  She plans on hosting fundraisers throughout the year to supplement the costs of the trip.

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