One of my favorite awards that WAEE gives out each year is the Student of the Year Award.
“For 6-12 and post secondary students. Presented for outstanding student involvement in the field of environmental education and academic excellence.” WAEE Awards
I just think it is so great to show students that when you go above and beyond your academics, when you make a real contribution to your community, people do take notice. It is essential that the EE community recognize these students and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. The past few years this award has gone to an outstanding graduate level student but wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a high school student recognized? To be able to stand up and show that even some of the younger members in our community are working hard to teach others about the value and importance of the environment around us would be amazing.
Last year’s winner was Tara Van Dollen, a graduate student at the University of WI Stevens Point. She got her Master’s in Environmental Education and Interpretation while working at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center
(ALNC). As a part of her degree program Tara created the Wonder Bugs program at ALNC. This program was designed for preschool aged children and their parent to attend together at the nature center, learning about an extremely wide range of local topics. Each program included crafts, outdoor exploration, play, stories, songs and movement. Tara truly went above and beyond in creating over a year’s worth of weekly programs that any of the staff could pick up and teach.
Here is a statement from Tara about what it meant to win the Student of the Year Award.
“My thoughts on winning the student of the year award: It was quite a surprise to win, especially not even knowing I was nominated. It felt special and very gratifying to be recognized for my student efforts from outside of the graduate program. It made me think, Wow, I just might me doing something that matters to a broader range of people. And that felt very good indeed.” – Tara Van Dollen
On the WAEE Awards page the recognition for this award is listed as, “Paid registration to the WAEE fall conference, acknowledgement in the WAEE newsletter and on the WAEE website, framed certificate and formal recognition at the WAEE Fall Conference banquet.” But as Tara stated the reward goes much further than just these things!
A list of past award winners –
Student of the Year Award2011 – Tara Von Dollen
2009 – Molly McKay – UWSP
2008 – Emily Hill – UWSP
2004 – Kate Hofmann – UWSP
2003 – Lara Carlson
2002 – Kenneth Skrepenski & Anthony James Morro
2000 – John Haley & Jennifer Cain
1998 – Matt Toaves
1997 – Kary Schumpert & Cathy Walters
1995 – Jeanine Staab & Brian Perry
For more information please visit the WAEE Awards page
and PLEASE look around your school or community and find a student that needs recognizing!