Barbara Lewis, a Salt Lake District teacher whose students have gained several national recognitions for their work to aid the environment, has won an honor of her own.

Lewis was named one of 20 recipients of the 1991 Professional Best Teacher Excellence Awards. The awards are presented by "Learning," a professional magazine, Oldsmobile auto company and Michigan State University's College of Education.Three-hundred American teachers were nominated for the award.

Lewis was cited for making her curriculum at Jackson Elementary School come alive by asking students to solve real-life problems, applying what they learned in class.

Her students in a special class for gifted children identified a hazardous waste site in their neighborhood and pressed the Legislature to provide clean-up funds. They contributed $2,200 they raised themselves to the fund. Another class planted trees in their west Salt Lake neighborhood, and other students pushed for a state fund to replace trees throughout the state.

Lewis will be honored along with the 199 other winners during an educational "summit" at Michigan State University, Lansing, Mich., April 22-25. She will present a symposium on the activities for which she is being honored. She will receive at least $1,000 from Oldsmobile and is eligible for one of five cars donated by the auto firm.