Recipients of the Conservation and Environmental Education Excellence Awards Program - past winners.


  PAST IAN/ICEC Conservation & Environmental Education Excellence Award Winners

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

» 1997 IAN/ICEC Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Announced «

The Iowa Association of Naturalists and the Iowa Conservation Education Council are proud to announce this year’s recipients of their Conservation and Environmental Education Excellence Awards Program. Eight awards will be presented. The winners are as follows:

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop.>35,000): Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Black Hawk County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s environmental education (EE) program. Hartman Reserve has a very diverse and strong EE program. Beyond the usual school field days, the center also sponsors teacher workshops, promotes in-school recycling, public recreational opportunities and wildlife reintroduction programs.

Aldo Leopold Environmental Education Award: Duane Toomsen, Iowa Department of Education.
This award recognizes lifetime achievements in EE excellence and leadership. Toomsen has been involved in EE for over 25 years. His accomplishments include service on the Iowa Conservation Education Council Executive Committee, bringing EE curriculum materials such as Project WILD to Iowa, and creating and administering the EE portion of the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act – Conservation Education Program (REAP – CEP). His efforts have extended beyond the state of Iowa and as well as the United States.

Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award: This award recognizes formal or non-formal educators for innovative EE programming beyond his/her job expectations. Two people have been selected to receive the award this year.

  • Tonya Sworts, Lee County Conservation Board. Sworts has expanded Lee County Conservation Board’s environmental program considerably. Her programs now include in-school and outdoor field days, summer day camps, weekend public programs, and special interpretive trips.

  • Barb Kinneer, James Madison Middle School, Burlington. Kinneer has encouraged environmental action in her students through the formation of an Ecology Club, volunteerism at the local nature center, and the development of outdoor classrooms. She is also involved in the Three Rivers Environmental Council which sponsors teacher workshops in southeast Iowa.

Frederic Leopold Environmental Education Award: The Monsanto Company, Muscatine.
This award honors an outstanding EE effort by business, industry, or labor. The Monsanto Company in Muscatine co-owns Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve and hosts a Big Sand Mound Field Day every two years. Other efforts include prairie restoration, hunter safety programs, household hazardous waste clean-up, and sponsoring many EE programs in Louisa and Muscatine Counties.

Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award: Uncle Ike Nature Program, Marshall County.
This program, designed for youth, was first created by the Marshall County chapter of the Izaak Walton League and the Marshall County Conservation Board in 1983. The program, which has spread to other counties in Iowa and across the nation, promotes conservation education among students.

Ada Hayden Conservation Education Award: This award commends outstanding efforts to educate conservation professionals or private landowners about preservation, land management, or natural resource conservation. Two awardees have been selected for this award.

  • Dean Prestemon and Paul Wray, ISU Extension Foresters. These leaders in Iowa forestry education have added the idea of woodland stewardship to timber harvest. Through workshops, they promote individualized woodland management with an eye toward the future.

  • Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation: Environmental education is one of the Foundation’s primary goals. The Foundation has a broad audience from youth to professionals to the general public. One of its more commendable efforts is the publication of The Landowner’s Options which details permanent land protection and is used across the nation.

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» 1998 IAN/ICEC Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Announced «

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop.>35,000): Starr’s Cave Nature Center, Des Moines County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s environmental education (EE) program of counties with a population of over 35,000. Starr’s Cave Nature Center has a very strong and diverse EE program from field days and public programs to working with cooperating agencies.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop.<35,000): Louisa County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of less than 35,000. Louisa County has a strong EE program with nearly 100% contact with all elementary students in the county. Along with other EE programs, Louisa County has a unique soil and water program they have developed in cooperation with the Louisa County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Frederic Leopold Environmental Education Award: Local 838 – United Auto Workers Waterloo.
This award honors an outstanding EE effort by business, industry, or labor. Over the past eight years, this union has played a major role in sponsoring and organizing Earthworks in Black Hawk County. The Earthworks program helps schools earn credit to fund field trips to Hartman Reserve Nature Center, allowing schools to participate in EE field trips that may not be able to otherwise.

Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award: Boone County 5th grade ExCEL students.
These 12 students, as 4th graders, actively pursued and promoted a public campaign for the Boone County Conservation Board to hire a naturalist. As a result of their efforts, this county now has its very first naturalist.

Ada Hayden Conservation Education Award: Trees Forever Iowa Buffer Initiative.
This award commends outstanding efforts to educate conservation professionals or private landowners about preservation, land management, or natural resource conservation. The Iowa Buffer Initiative, sponsored by Trees Forever and other agencies, held workshops across the state to educate landowners about increasing water quality through tree plantings serving as buffer strips along waterways.

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» 1999 IAN/ICEC Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Announced «

Aldo Leopold Environmental Education Award: Dr. James Pease.
This award commends a lifetime achievement in EE excellence and leadership. Pease’s leadership in EE has extended beyond his position as a professor in animal ecology at Iowa State University. He is actively involved as an educator and leader in Iowa, in regional and national conferences, and in other countries. His guidance and assistance are sought by those in EE, government, and many others.

Ada Hayden Conservation Education Award: Lee County Pheasants Forever.
This award commends outstanding efforts to educate others about preservation, land management, or natural resource conservation. This Pheasants Forever chapter has done much work in promoting conservation education from teachers to children to landowners. Their programs have included sponsoring Forestry Field Days, fishing clinics, teachers’ workshops, and donating money and supplies to schools for conservation programs.

Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award: Michael Havlik.
This award commends outstanding efforts by an environmental educator. Michael Havlick has proven himself to be an innovator of residential EE programs in the state. Working at the Des Moines YMCA Camp near Boone, he developed a five day residential program and is currently working on a "Naturalist Camp" for August 2000.

Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award: Lee County Conservation Board – Wild in Iowa trunks.
This award commends an outstanding EE program for or by youth. The Wild in Iowa trunks are the brainstorm of Lee County Naturalist Tonya Sworts. The series of trunks each feature a unique native Iowa animal with activities, props and stories for students from kindergarten through sixth. These trunks are truly a "naturalist in a box."

Sylvan Runkel Environmental Education School Award: Southeast Warren Primary and Intermediate Schools.
This award commends an outstanding whole-school EE program. Southeast Warren Schools for four years have utilized the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs program throughout their grade schools. The program is utilized in grades pre- kindergarten to sixth grade and includes a family component.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. >35,000): Clinton County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s environmental education (EE) program of counties with a population of over 35,000. Clinton County had one of the first EE programs in the state and has provided quality EE programs for the last 25 years. Operating two nature centers, the two Clinton County interpreters have presented programs to over 47,000 people for the past 25 years.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. <35,000): Clayton County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of less than 35,000. Providing environmental education for children has been a priority of Clayton County since 1969. The county offers a unique program for junior high students. Through a series of campouts, the students learn life skills, ecology, and environmental issues.

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» 2000 IAN/ICEC Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Announced «

Aldo Leopold Environmental Education Award: William Desmarais.
This award commends a lifetime achievement in environmental education (EE) excellence and leadership. For over 30 years, William has taught secondary EE, volunteered for many state and local agencies, facilitated workshops, and been an active member of several environmental and science oriented associations locally, statewide, and nationally. Highlights include offering the only advanced placement environmental science course in Iowa and working for environmental legislation.

Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award: Linda Scheuermann.
This award commends outstanding efforts by an environmental educator. Through her work as a fourth grade teacher in Story City, Scheuermann has shown herself to be an exceptional educator. She has developed curriculum used internationally, worked on several projects with state agencies, and raised funds with her students to release trumpeter swans locally. Scheuermann and her students met the governor as a result of their swan program.

"Ding" Darling Environmental Education Award: Des Moines Water Works – Iowa Children’s Water Festival.
This award commends an outstanding environmental education program which informs and educates the general public. The Des Moines Water Works began the annual Iowa’s Children Festival to raise awareness and knowledge of water resources. In the four years of the event 5,500 fifth grade students across Iowa have attended this free one day event full of interactive presentations, exhibits, and stage shows.

Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award: Knoxville High School Science Club.
This award commends an outstanding EE program for or by youth. This highly popular school club encourages students to become actively involved in stewardship for the environment. Over the last 25 years, students have planted over 100,000 trees, created and maintained butterfly gardens and outdoor classrooms, built bird houses, participate in wildlife surveys, and assisted researchers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. >35,000): Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Black Hawk County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of over 35,000. Hartman Reserve supports a highly diverse educational program, including a new program center demonstrating "green" building practices. Another unique program is their Hartman Trail Tram for senior citizens. The Tram provides weekly interpretive trail rides through the warmer months.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. <35,000): Bremer County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of less than 35,000. For a small county, Bremer County aims high, serving over 19,000 people in the last year alone. This county sponsors a wide range of programming, including teacher workshops, residential programs, county recycling programs, wildlife surveys, and a Rocky Mountain trip for local high-schoolers.

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» 2001 IAN/ICEC Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Announced «

Aldo Leopold Environmental Education Award: R. Thomas Tanner, Iowa State University.
This award commends a lifetime achievement in environmental education (EE) excellence and leadership. Tanner has been a pioneer in the field of contemporary environmental education (EE) since his teaching career began in the 60s. As a national leader and innovator, he has written books, articles, and papers on the subject, while creating curricula and speaking at conferences. He also spearheaded the Iowa Aldo Leopold Centennial Celebration in 1986.

Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award: Joe Boyles, Polk County Conservation Board.
This award commends outstanding efforts by an environmental educator. Boyles’ most outstanding project as a naturalist is his work with the DNR to reintroduce ospreys. For the project, Boyles dedicated an enormous amount of time creating a manual for assistants, organizing volunteers, constructing a hack tower, and checking on the birds daily prior to release.

Ada Hayden Conservation Education Award: Clinton County Chapter of Pheasants Forever and the Clinton County Conservation Board.
This award commends outstanding efforts to educate others about preservation, land management, or natural resource conservation. In response to a lack of knowledge about Iowa’s prairie history, these two agencies collaborated to create a "Prairie for Schools" program. Through this innovative program, prairie plots were planted at local schools for use as outdoor classrooms. A teacher’s guide on how to use the prairie was also created.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. >35,000): Lee County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of over 35,000. Lee County offers a diverse program, including unique field trips such as Mississippi River Days, themed summer camps, fishing tournaments, and public programs such as the large annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days. They sponsor several highly skilled Envirothon teams in local high schools and fundraise money for Wild In Iowa trunks which specialize in school activities about native wildlife.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. <35,000): Palo Alto County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of less than 35,000. Palo Alto County has taken full advantage of their small population by forging strong partnerships and programs with other agencies, connecting with all kindergarten through six graders within the county, and reaching the public through their award-winning nature center. Unique programs include a newsletter for elementary students and a new program to reduce waste during field trips.

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» 2002 IAN/ICEC Conservation and Environmental Education Awards Announced «

Aldo Leopold Environmental Education Award: Bob Bryant, Wapsi River Environmental Education Center.
This award commends a lifetime achievement in environmental education (EE) excellence and leadership. Bryant’s influence on environmental education reaches back into the 1970s. He helped found the Iowa Association of Naturalists, began the third county conservation board EE program in the state, and developed the Wapsi River EE Center. He is involved in many conservation agencies including the Iowa Prairie Network and the Iowa Native plant Society.

Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award: Dave Bakke, Muscatine County Conservation Board.
This award commends outstanding efforts by an environmental educator. Bakke is being honored for his extensive work with the Muscatine schools. Possibly the "most recognized man in Muscatine Schools," Bakke consistently leads high quality programs whether the activities are new or have been repeated many times.

Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award: Franklin Elementary Fifth Grades for 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, Marshalltown.
This award commends an outstanding EE program for or by youth. For the past two years, the Franklin Elementary fifth grade has been working on a Mosquito Service Project. After brainstorming on local environmental problems, the students chose to tackle the mosquito population. After in-depth research, the students made recommendations to the Marshalltown City Council and then began community service projects to decrease the population.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. >35,000): Clinton County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of over 35,000. Clinton County hosts one of the oldest EE programs in the state and staff are active in local, state, and national committees. New projects for the county include the Blue Heron Eco Cruises on the Mississippi and the development of a residential EE center.

Outstanding County Conservation Board EE Program (pop. <35,000): Washington County Conservation Board.
This award commends excellence in a county conservation board’s EE program of counties with a population of less than 35,000. Washington County’s growing EE program includes collaboration with many conservation agencies, assisting with a local afterschool program, and the creation of a Program Guide for teachers. The most exciting project Washington County is working on is their new Conservation Education Center, scheduled to be open this summer.

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