Environmental Educators Recognize Outstanding Contributors To Their Field - Video Blog

At their conference this past weekend, the PA Association of Environmental Educators recognized outstanding contributions by individuals, programs and businesses to the field of environmental education.
The awards were part of a three-day conference which featured a variety of speakers, more than a dozen workshops for educators and a special pre-conference program by the National Wildlife Federation entitled, "Connecting Today's Kids With Nature, A Policy Action Plan."   (Photo: Ruth Roperti, PAEE President)
The awards program recognized these awardees for their achievements:

Keystone Award: Dede Long, Briar Bush Nature Center.The Award was presented by Mike Weilbacker.
Dede has served as the Executive Director of the Center since 1979 overseeing education programs at the Center's 12-acre grounds, as well as outreach to teachers, other environmental centers in the Philadelphia Region and conservation managers. Programs under her supervision reached 66,000 last year. The Center recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The Keystone Award is the most prestigious award. It is presented to someone who has successfully dedicated their time to advancing the quality and opportunities of environmental education in Pennsylvania.

Outstanding Environmental Educator: Steve Wasiesky, Asbury Woods Nature Center in the Millcreek School District. The Award was presented by Brian Winslow.
Steve started his relationship with Asbury Woods Nature Center when he was 11 years. He served as a chemist for the Lord Chemical Company, but volunteered at the Center. Later got his teaching certificate and then went work as the Center's Educator Coordinator in 1999.
To be considered, the nominee must be "an individual who made a significant teaching contribution to the environmental education field in a formal or non-formal setting, through either curriculum development or teaching."

Outstanding Environmental Education Program: the Asbury Woods Nature Center in the Millcreek Township School District. The Award was received by Brian Winslow, Steve Wasiesky and Bonnie Bowen. It was presented by Dennis Pennington.
Asbury Woods was established in 1957 through a generous gift from Dr. Otto Behrend to the Millcreek Township School District to provide the region with opportunities to experience, study and enjoy nature and to be a model site for sustainable environmental practices.
This award recognizes an exemplary environmental education program which could be used as a model program.

Government Partner Award: Sarah Hopkins, DCNR Bureau of State Parks. Sarah could not attend the ceremony due to a family commitment. The Award was presented by Kathleen Paul, PA Center for Environmental Education.
Sarah manages the Outdoors Services Programming Services Division of the Bureau, including guiding over 100 interpretive staff and programs at 23 full time and 34 seasonal education programs, offered 124 teacher workshops, 2,808 programs for students. The programs together reached over 323,000 people.
This award recognizes a government official who serves on a local, state or national level and has demonstrated significant support for environmental education within the Commonwealth of PA.

Business Partner Award: Crisci Associates for publishing the PA Environment Digest online newsletter. The Award was given to David Hess, Editor of the Digest and presented by Ruth Roperti.
This award recognizes a member of the business community that has made significant contributions to promote environmental education within the Commonwealth.

Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Field: Southeast PA Area Health Education Center, Woman's Health and Environmental Network, and PA Integrated Pest Management Program for their partner program "Minimizing the Risk from Environmental Toxins at Child Care Centers Through Education," which reaches over 200 childcare centers in the Philadelphia area. Susan Digiorgio-Poll accepted the award presented by Debra Buckman.
This Award is presented to someone who has contributed to environmental education in a non teaching area, such as publishing or research.

PAEE Endorsement: Outdoor Adventures, Natural Biodiversity, Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team, and many partners, received an endorsement from PAEE. Accepting the endorsement was Kristen Sewak and Melissa Reynolds. It was presented by Angela Belli.
Outdoor Adventures is a one-day field trip designed to teach elementary kids about, empower them to experience and inspire them to nurture nature! Representatives of more than 40 organizations will be there to help kids explore concepts such as watersheds, wildlife habitat, invasive species and energy. Last year kids fished, got close to live birds of prey, hiked in the forest, and watched a working windmill among many other activities.
Special Recognition: There was a special recognition for PAEE President Ruth Roperti for her many years of work for the Association and environmental education in Pennsylvania.
Ruth has served as president of PAEE for the last two years and worked to upgrade the group's journal, expand its annual conference, build relationships with the North American Association for Environmental Education and expanded fund raising and awards programs.


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