NAAEE Announces 11 Hallmark Individual and Organization Awards in Environmental Education

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Eleven of North America’s brightest examples of innovative environmental education programs tapped for 2015 awards by North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

2015 NAAEE Award Winners Photo courtesy of Kyle Dykes

"Our award winners represent bright spots across North America that show progress in our field across multiple disciplines and approaches, from teaching and community engagement to research and environmental justice." - Judy Braus

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), a leader in environmental education, announced 11 hallmark awards, presented to an impressive slate of individuals and organizations from North America and recognizing leadership in the field, during NAAEE’s 44th annual conference in San Diego.

“For more than four decades, NAAEE has promoted excellence and impact in environmental education thanks to the tireless efforts of our members, supporters, and affiliate organizations,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director. “Our award winners represent bright spots across North America that show progress in our field across multiple disciplines and approaches, from teaching and community engagement to research and environmental justice.”

The award recipients were:

The Walter E. Jeske Award, NAAEE’s highest honor for lifetime achievement in EE: Kay Antunez, a long-time California educator in the field of environmental education and a long-time supporter of NAAEE, who served as the state coordinator of the California Project Learning Tree program sponsored by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection from 1988 to 2012 and represented the agency in an interagency environmental education network.

Distinguished Leadership in Environmental Education Award: Randi Fisher, co-founder and trustee of the Pisces Foundation (http://www.piscesfoundation.org), who supports the Foundation’s vision of “people and nature thriving together” and believes in the importance of environmental education for creating a more sustainable future.

The Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Award: Rue Mapp of Outdoor Afro, (http://www.outdoorafro.com), which Mapp started as a blog in 2009 and which has become one of the nation’s most prominent networks that emphasizes African American connections and leadership in nature.

The K-12 Educator of the Year Award: Nancy Gillis, a teacher in the Toronto, Canada School District, who also was named one of Canada’s three Energy Educators of the Year in the national Classroom Energy Diet initiative aimed toward enhancing energy awareness among Canadian students.

Outstanding Contributions to Research in EE Award: Alan Reid, an associate professor of education at Monash University (http://www.monash.edu), who focuses on teachers’ thinking and practice in environmental education in tandem with traditions, capacities, and issues in environmental education theory, research, and practice.

Outstanding NAAEE Affiliate Organization Award: The Maine Environmental Education Association (http://www.meeassociation.org), founded in 1982, which supports organizations, schools, groups, educational programs, and individuals who promote and expand environmental education in Maine.

Outstanding Service to EE by an Individual Award (Local Level): Joshua York, a naturalist and education supervisor at Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton, Ohio (http://www.metroparks.org), which offers a wide-ranging educational program built on the concept of nature play and getting people outside.

Outstanding Service to EE by an Individual Award (Regional Level): Lisa Bardwell, former president and CEO of Earth Force (http://www.earthforce.org), which helps build the capacity of educators to mentor their students as they address community problems using critical thinking skills, sound science, and community partnerships.

Outstanding Service to EE by an Organization Award (Global Level): Agrium (http://www.agrium.com) a global producer and distributor of crop nutrients, crop protection, seed, and agronomic and application services based in Calgary, Canada. Agrium works with nonprofit organizations to develop youth-focused programs that emphasize environmental education, agricultural and nutrient stewardship education, and farm safety education. Among the most successful and popular offerings are Seed Survivor®, Caring for Our Watersheds®, and Journey 2050™.

Outstanding Service to EE by an Organization Award (Local Level): The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery - The Art Museum for the Environment (http://www.scrapgallery.org), which serves art students in the Coachella Valley and Riverside County and bases its youth-oriented hands-on educational programs on the Four R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Responsibility.

Outstanding Service to EE by an Organization Award (Regional Level): The Prairie Science Class (PSC), an education partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and the Fergus Falls Independent School District 544, which explores the prairie pothole ecosystem and operates the prairie wetlands learning center.

About NAAEE
The North American Association for Environmental Education is a pioneering membership organization dedicated to accelerating environmental literacy and civic engagement through education. NAAEE supports a network of more than 20,000 educators, researchers, and organizational members working in environmental education in more than 30 countries through direct membership and 54 state, provincial, and regional affiliate organizations. Through community networks, publications, signature programs, and eeNEWS and eeJOBS, NAAEE provides programming and resources for professionals working in all areas of the field. NAAEE’s annual conference, now entering its 45th year, convenes leaders from private and public sectors to advance the field of environmental education. For more information, visit http://www.naaee.net.

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Christiane Maertens, Deputy Director
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