WILD Facilitator of the Year goes to…

Dr. Dennis Yockers!!

Earlier this summer the WI DNR WILD program announced that long time WAEE member and long time WILD facilitator, Dr. Dennis Yockers, was awarded the Facilitator of the Year award. This is a great honor for an amazing educator.

I have taken a WILD workshop with Yockers and I can say from personal experience that you truly come away with an incredible amount of knowledge, new ideas for reaching young people and a desire to incorporate the activities into your classroom or programs. I was amazed at how quickly the workshop was over, I just wanted to keep learning more and trying more of the activities.

Janet Hutchens, the state coordinator, publishes a Facilitator News and this summer’s edition had a great article about Dr. Dennis Yockers. I wish I could include a link to the whole newsletter but it doesn’t look like they post it online anywhere. So, here is the text from just the article about Dr. Yockers.

“Project WILD at the national level has begun recognizing one facilitator from each state this year as Facilitator of the Year to be recognized at the annual Coordinator’s Meeting.  Dennis was nominated by Janet Hutchens, Al Stenstrup, Carrie Morgan, and Dolly Ledin as Wisconsin’s outstanding facilitator.  The following nomination was included in the awards banquet booklet and Dennis will receive this and a certificate plaque at a future event.  Congratulations Dennis for your years of service and dedication to Wisconsin Project WILD. Please read his nomination below:

Dennis is Wisconsin’s first state coordinator for Project WILD.  He and his assistant conducted over fifty Project WILD workshops in their first year.  This enthusiasm continued and included training for teachers, other non-formal educators, and facilitators.  The team also led a number of workshops for wildlife managers and other natural resource professionals to help them use WILD activities in their outreach and education efforts.  This model was somewhat unique and was developed above and beyond the usual WILD trainings.  These workshops helped attendees become better communicators and educators.  They also helped to create opportunities for collaboration between educators and resource professionals around the state.

Dennis was a leader in introducing Project WILD at the pre-service level.  He trained university faculty in Project WILD so they could take their students through WILD as part of their methods classes.  This innovation has been very successful and sustainable for the program.  He continues to inspire students with Project WILD through his pre-service courses at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, helping them prepare to bring the environment into their future classrooms.

Dennis has become involved in the green schools movement and participated in the Forsts for Every Classroom teacher training, where he led a field trip to a natural area-complete with Project WILD activities.  He integrates WILD activities into all appropriate teaching situations.  Even when he’s not doing WILD workshops, he promotes the program.  He is also a champion of the WILD schoolyard program, encouraging development of outdoor classrooms and restoration efforts with in-service teachers.  He advocates for “naturalizing” school sites and has trained and implemented work at multiple school sites where they have established “prairie” or “native woodlands” right on the school grounds.

Dennis’ long term commitment to Project WILD has spanned throughout his professional career.  He is a leader within our statewide network, always looking for ways to bring Project WILD to new audiences, motivating other facilitators, and involving students more deeply.  Dennis deserves to be recognized at both the state and national level for his career contributions to the success of Project WILD.”

Congratulations Dr. Yockers! I am so happy that your great work as an educator in this state is being recognized.

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