Updated: Sep 13, 2022
To the folks she’s led on hikes and other activities, she’s a wealth of knowledge about air quality and how it impacts the natural world around us.
To the children she’s taught about air pollution through hands-on workshops, she is affectionately known as The Pig Lung Lady.
But to GASP, Chelsea Hilty is an all-star educator – and a teammate we are going to miss terribly. After nearly four years at the helm of our education and events planning, Chelsea is (sadly) leaving GASP following an out-of-state move.
While we wish her the best, we couldn’t let her go before we let her know just how much of an impact she helped make during her tenure here.
Because although GASP has long engaged in educational efforts, Chelsea came on board when GASP was awarded an EPA grant to create an air quality educational summer camp for kids – and she jumped right in to create a curriculum and a plan to reach as many classrooms as possible.
“She came on board when youth education was really taking off at GASP,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said.
And she had to hit the ground running.
“She essentially created an entire curriculum for our summer youth education program,” she added. “It was all in Chelsea’s lap.”
It was clear from the very beginning that she was at home in front of a roomful of kiddos.
“She just has a very good rapport with youth. She doesn’t talk down to them. She treats kids with the respect they deserve,” Filippini said. “Kids can tell when someone is being sincere and when they’re being fake.”
It’s not just youth education that Chelsea spearheaded during her tenure at GASP: She also taught OSHER courses – where she educated retirees about issues related to air pollution and public health at Pitt and CMU.
But education is just half of what Chelsea did here at GASP: She was also our events coordinator and spent the better part of a year planning and prepping for our 50th-anniversary gala.
While the event was a team effort, Chelsea was the one taking the lead- identifying potential sponsors, researching locations and menus, brainstorming decor ideas, and even creating a year’s worth of weekly tips for folks to follow to be greener as a leadup to the event.
She was also chiefly responsible for sifting through boxes (and boxes – so many boxes) of GASP’s archived material to showcase the very best watchdog, educational, and advocacy work from our 50-year history.
Patty Himes, a naturalist educator at Frick Environmental Center who was honored with a Michelle Maddoff Award of Environmental Excellence at our 50th, met Chelsea when she worked at the organization as an intern.
“Her time here was a tremendous gift, “ she said.
“Chelsea is a talented and thoughtful educator. She is down-to-earth and practical. I have always thought of her as a ‘go to’ colleague,” Himes added.”She was someone I could ‘go-to’ and work through work-related challenges. She was someone I could count on to do a thorough and quality job. She was someone that was committed and I could trust.”
GASP Board President Jonathan Nadle agreed.
“Her passion for education and community engagement was evident and she developed several well-regarded, innovative and successful education programs,” he said.
“While we are sad to see Chelsea go she leaves the organization in a stronger, more effective place when it comes to environmental education. Thank you, Chelsea, for everything you’ve done for us over the last couple of years,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Feel free to leave a little love for Chelsea in the comments section below! We’ll make sure she sees ’em.