PA Environmental Educators Present Annual Awards

The PA Association of Environmental Educators presented its annual award during its Climbing the Summit of Environmental Education Conference last week.  The award winners include:

-- Keystone AwardPat Lupo, OSB, Benedictine Sisters, Neighborhood Art House, Erie.  Sr. Pat Lupo, OSB has been a leading influence in education, environment and conservation in Pennsylvania for over forty years.  She has been recognized at the local, state, national and international levels for her work in environmental education and conservation.

She has served and continues to serve on many boards of environmentally oriented organizations.  She also helped create the Erie County Environmental Coalition.  This group gets involved in environmental issues that affect the Northwest Pennsylvania region.

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 Pat McKinney, Schuylkill Conservation District.  In his 23 years with the Schuylkill Conservation District “Porcupine” Pat McKinney has been, and continues to be, dedicated to educating others about the importance of the environment and protecting our natural resources. 

He is also focused on promoting Schuylkill County and the vast array of activities that it has to offer.  He does this through the many programs and activities that he coordinates, including teacher’s workshops, school programs, educational walks, and various events that are held throughout the year. 

Pat coordinates the County Envirothon and our Annual Conservation District Awards Ceremony, which honors individuals, organizations, and businesses throughout Schuylkill County that help to promote awareness of conservation and the environment.  He is also co-coordinator of the Bear Creek Festival (an environmental education event hosted by the SCD each May.)  Every year we have over 3,000 people who attend this event. 

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."

-- Daisy S. Klinedinst Memorial Award Mary Jo Lisewski, Peace Valley Nature Center, Doylestown, Pa.  Lisewski has worked at the Center for four years and prior to her hiring as a full-time employee she was an intern.  She has and continues to show and demonstrate a strong ethical commitment to environmental education.

During her time at the Center she went back to school to gain her teaching certification and decided to stay at the Center to teach environmental education to our citizens and ddoes so with enthusiasm and great knowledge.

The award recipient should be "an educator, new (less than five years) to the field, who is involved in environmental education and who seeks to continue to expand his/her involvement in environmental education." 

-- Outstanding Environmental Education Program Award –“Penn Diversity: Our Commonwealth,” Natural Biodiversity.  Since conceptualization in 2008, Natural Biodiversity has committed to and followed through on its goal to educate Pennsylvania citizens, especially students, about biodiversity, what’s at stake, the threats, and what people can do to protect it for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. 

To date, Natural Biodiversity has accomplished the following “Penn Biodiversity: Our CommonWealth” projects: 1) BioBullies – a widely distributed and acclaimed curriculum for Pennsylvania schools, teaching multiple academic subjects through the environmental issue of invasive species, one of five top threats to biodiversity; 2) BioBattles – a newly released set of educational lessons teaching multiple subjects through each of the five top threats to biodiversity; 3)  Cosmo’s World: Part II, an Emmy Award winning set of 4 educational videos on top environmental subjects in PA: biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, water, and energy; and 4)  Penn Biodiversity website, a new, creative, clearinghouse site for all Pennsylvanians to access biodiversity educational materials.

This award recognizes an exemplary environmental education program which could be used as a model program.

-- Government Partner AwardBill Mitchell, Director Parks and Recreation, Bucks County, Pa.  As Executive Director, Mitchell has supported and assisted the three county nature centers-- Churchville, Silver Lake, Peace Valley, actively purchased valuable wildlife, historic and recreation properties for the county and has overseen their development so they can be used by the public for education and recreation purposes.

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.

For more information, visit the PA Association of Environmental Educators website.


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