TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Awards. Nominated by their peers, these awardees exhibit outstanding innovation, leadership and achievement, as well as collaboration and cooperation within the environmental education field. For the second year, three schools are receiving Kansas Green Schools of the Year Awards. "We are thrilled to honor these deserving individuals and organizations, who give so much of their time and are so dedicated to environmental education in Kansas," said KACEE President Schanee' Anderson, of the Sedgwick County Zoo.
John K. Strickler Award
This award, named after one of KACEE's founders and first executive director John Strickler, honors the lifetime achievements, contributions, and leadership of individuals in the Kansas conservation and environmental education field.
Brad Loveless, Westar Energy, Topeka
As Manager of Westar Energy's Biology and Conservation Programs, Brad Loveless has provided untold hours of service in support of environmental projects across the state. Through the work of the Westar Green Team, numerous schools and communities have experienced new outdoor classrooms, wildlife habitat areas, river access points, and wind turbine sites. Brad also serves on KACEE's Board of Directors and has served as its President.
KACEE Awards are given in several categories and recognize outstanding leadership, achievements, and collaborations by individuals and organizations with at least five years' experience in conservation and environmental education in Kansas.
PreK-16 Educator: Matt Krehbiel, Junction City High School
At Junction City High School, talented teacher Matt Krehbiel at Junction City High School, compiled a textbook of local ecological content and field protocols. The textbook includes writings of several researchers and environmental professionals.
PreK-16 Educator: George Potts, Friends University and OWLS Coordinator
Since the 1970s, George Potts has been active in environmental education and KACEE, serving on its board and as President. From higher education at Friends University to K-12 science teaching in the Wichita School District, George has been an inspiration to many students who have gone on to natural resource careers. He has also served as OWLS Coordinator for Kansas Wildlife & Parks and helped develop more than 200 OWLS sites across Kansas.
Community/Non-Profit: E.A.R.T.H. (Earth Awareness Researchers for Tomorrow's Habitat), Wichita
E.A.R.T.H. was formed in 1998 to work with middle school curriculum directors to provide these students with innovative, experiential learning opportunities that highlight natural resources and encourage them to become wise stewards of their environment. The program began in Wichita and now encompasses 19 counties in Kansas. Each year, the E.A.R.T.H. steering committee, workshop presenters, and volunteers allocate more than 10,700 hours to the program.
Community/Non-Profit: Friends of the Kaw, Inc., Lawrence
Friends of the Kaw is a grassroots organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the Kansas River. Its website hosts the Kansas River Atlas, a watershed-based, interactive tool that delivers information about the river. The website also provides information about cultural and historic sites along the river and lesson plans for teachers. The group hosts Sandbar Schools for 4th graders that emphasize river stewardship and water safety, as well as educational float trips for teachers.
Rising Star: Delia Lister, Pittsburg State University
Delia Lister is well-known to schools in the Pittsburg area and four-state region as the director of Pittsburg State University's Nature Reach Program. This outreach program teaches about the natural history of the area, as well as local and global environmental issues. She also cares for raptors at the PSU Natural History Reserve. Delia teaches biology at PSU and serves as President of the Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society, and has made numerous presentations at KACEE conferences and workshops.
Kansas Green School of the Year: Centre Elementary School, Lost Springs USD 397
Students have led the charge toward going "green" at Centre Elementary. Four Green Teams collect the recyclables each week at the school. The Teams also present skits and assemblies to students about recycling. As a result of their efforts, more households are also recycling. The school has eliminated Styrofoam in the kitchens and planted a school garden. The produce is eaten in the lunchroom. Students tend a worm farm at the school, and have created a short video that was shared with another elementary school to help it begin worm farming.
Kansas Green School of the Year: Clifton-Clyde High School, USD 224
Environmental education efforts at Clifton-Clyde High School have taken multiple directions: classroom curriculum, environmental projects, and community involvement. The school has erected a wind turbine to power halogen lights for a hydroponic watering system. Solar panels power outdoor lights and a water pump for a native flower garden. Students held a "Wind Energy Day" to educate the community about their projects, and are in the process of constructing a greenhouse and planting a community garden. A composting program is also in the works.
Kansas Green School of the Year: Goddard High School, USD 265
Renewing students' relationships with Kansas ecosystems and the landscape through restoration, reconnection, and reflection is the theme of Goddard High School's "green" efforts. Students have developed a native prairie demonstration area in a renovated section of the school's OWLS site near their pond. A wind turbine powers a pond aerator, helping to keep the water clean. Environmental education is cross-curricular at the school, with arts projects ongoing throughout the year. The OWLS site supports instructional objectives and is also used by the community.
Awardees will be recognized on Friday, 9 April 2010, at Heritage Hall in Topeka. The honorary chair for the event is Kansas Sampler Foundation Executive Director Marci Penner. Rod Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will present the Kansas Green Schools Awards. For more information on the awards celebration event, visit www.kacee.org or call 785-532-1902.
The Kansas Green Schools Program is sponsored by KACEE, KDHE, and the KCC's State Energy Office.