2005 Medal of Merit Recipient
Larry McBiles is a national leader in promoting the teaching of young children about minerals and the mining industry. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Arizona Foundation for Resource Education (AFRE), a unique collaboration of business, industry and education interests. AFRE‟s mission is to promote understanding about natural resources and related industries by providing Arizona’s -12 teachers and non-formal educators with real-world, hands-on, educational programs and professional development opportunities that focus on the importance of Arizona’s natural resources. A committed network of Arizona’s natural resource businesses and industries supports the AFRE.
Dr. McBiles holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. He has great pride in being a native Arizonan from Ajo and member of a fourth-generation family of copper miners. He began his career as an elementary school teacher and went on to the middle and secondary levels at Ajo High School, where he developed a comprehensive program supporting the importance of copper in society. His program came to the attention of the Arizona Mining Association in the early 1980s. The Association appointed him Director of Education and supported the further development of the program to what was to become the award-winning “Mining, Minerals and Me” education program. This program became the basis of the Association’s Educational Foundation, which led to the present organization spanning all of Arizona’s natural resources in 2001.
Larry teaches at Arizona State University's College of Education. In addition, he consults widely across the country in the areas of performance-based education and alternative strategies for assessing student achievement. Active in statewide environmental education in Arizona, he has served as an educational administrator at the university and district level, as well as in the Arizona Department of Education. He is currently serving as president of the Arizona Association for Environmental Education, a statewide organization that strives to enhance the quality, scope, and effectiveness of environmental education in Arizona. Dr. McBiles served for several years on the Arizona Advisory Council for Environmental Education, including acting as Vice-Chair and Chair. During this time, he fought against the anti-environmental education forces in the state and equally as diligently for insuring that the EE License Plate Fund was used appropriately for high-quality environmental education.