Awards highlight environmental education excellence

The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) has announced recipients of their 2006-2007 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education awards. Nominated by peers for outstanding leadership and achievement, award recipients work individually and cooperatively within the environmental education field.

“We are thrilled to honor individuals and organizations who give so much of their time and are so dedicated to environmental education in Kansas,” said KACEE President and previous Strickler Award recipient Cindy Ford, of Pittsburg State University.

KACEE's John K. Strickler Award is named after one of KACEE’s founders and first executive director, John Strickler. It honors the lifetime achievements, contributions, and leadership of individuals in the Kansas conservation and environmental education field. The 2006 recipient of the Strickler Award is Roland Stein, Pratt, who recently retired from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Stein helped bring Projects WILD and WILD Aquatic to the state and was a leader in the Outdoor Wildlife Learning Sites program, which provides resources for outdoor classrooms to schools.

In addition to the Strickler Award, 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. 2006 awards include the following categories:

  • Pre-K-16 Educator -- Dr. Valerie Wright, K-State Konza Prairie Biological Station, Manhattan. Wright was the first education coordinator at Konza and has expanded the university program. She also directs the Konza Environmental Education Program.
  • Community/Non-Profit Organization -- Kansas Accredited Zoo Educators (KZE). KZE is an informal organization of six accredited Kansas zoos that works to promote a unified voice in conservation and develops resources for other organizations.
  • Community/Non-Profit Individual -- Linda Phipps, Southeast Kansas Nature Center at Schermerhorn Park, Galena. Phipps led efforts to restore a 1930s Works Project Association-era Scout building at Schermerhorn Park and develop it into a nature center for schoolchildren and visitors from four states.
  • Government -- The WATER Center, Wichita. After a groundwater pollution problem was discovered in downtown Wichita, the Wichita Area Treatment, Education, and Remediation (WATER) Center was founded to remediate the groundwater and educate the public about water issues. The WATER Center offers education programs and demonstrations of cleaning contaminated groundwater.

Recipients will be recognized on Friday, March 30, at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. Kevin Willmott, independent filmmaker and professor of film at the University of Kansas, will be the special guest.