For over four decades, Tom Pedersen has lived in Helena, Montana, teaching, coaching and mentoring youth. He is currently retired after teaching 39 years and coaching 30 years at Capital High School. With a focus on science education that uses nature as a classroom, he designed a Senior Science Seminar program that takes students on learning adventures in Glacier and Yellowstone Parks. He also took his dual college credit Honors Biology II students into the Helena National Forest to study water quality, forestry and stewardship.
He spent twenty summers as head of biological research at the Montana Science Camp at Canyon Ferry and then another twenty summers as instructor and crew leader for the Youth Forest Monitoring Program (YFMP) leading the student crews monitoring water quality in the Helena National Forest. Tom has also taught college level courses for teacher development in nature based education through UM and MSU and helped develop and teach the Forest For Every Classroom program through the Helena National Forest. Due to his emphasis on public lands, wild places and wild things and goal of developing a sense of place with his students, he has been named the NABT Montana Biology Teacher of the Year (1990), Helena Teacher of the Year (2015) and Montana Teacher of the year (2012). He is currently serving on the boards of Montana Conservation Corp (MCC), Montana Discovery Foundation and the Wild Divide Chapter of the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA).
He considers it a real honor to listen to and gain wisdom from the great Legends on the Montana Conservation Elders Board. Tom believes we must learn about nature, from nature, in nature. We must learn our ecological lessons from the past to drive our future decisions for Montana.