Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strnad Named Governor's Conservation Achievement Award Environmental Educator of the Year

Renee Strnad receives the Environmental Educator of the Year award from David Knight, Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and John Crutchfield, President, North Carolina Wildlife Federation. 

This past weekend the North Carolina Wildlife Federation presented the 48th Annual Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards to 20 winners dedicated to conservation in North Carolina.

One of the most prized awards presented by the NCWF is Environmental Educator of the Year, and few in the North Carolina EE community were surprised that this year's award went to Renee Strnad.

Renee works at N.C. State University in Extension Forestry and is the State Coordinator for Project Learning Tree, a multi-disciplinary environmental education program for educators and students in PreK-12. In addition to her Project Learning Tree role, Renee supports 4-H natural resource programs statewide and serves as a liaison between the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State University and environmental educators, sharing relevant information between the two groups. She has worked extensively with Wiley Elementary School in Raleigh, where students in grades 3-5 get their first glimpse of being a forester, through tree measurement classes facilitated by N.C. State forestry students.

Renee has served since 2008 as a valuable member of the North Carolina Environmental Literacy Plan Working Group. She has been a key part of efforts to align state standards with national environmental literacy guidelines and was instrumental in acquiring the first funding to support implementation of the N.C. Environmental Literacy Plan through a baseline study of environmental literacy in North Carolina students.

In an effort to help North Carolina citizens better understand issues surrounding solid waste, Renee developed a workshop series on municipal solid waste in cooperation with the state office of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. She also serves the community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Scrap Exchange, a nonprofit creative reuse center located in Durham, North Carolina whose mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.

Renee currently serves as President-Elect for EENC and will begin her role as the organization’s President next year. She also supports national environmental education efforts through her work with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). She currently serves as Chair of the Volunteer Committee for the NAAEE conference scheduled for Raleigh in October of 2011.

Strnad is a graduate of Kansas State University with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She’s been with N.C. State University since 2000, and has been involved in environmental education since 1997. She has been a  North Carolina Certified Environmental Educator since 2003.

Renee’s passion for environmental education and for inspiring students and teachers is contagious. She is never content to sit back and wait for change. Renee is a true believer that you should “be the change you want to see in the world” and she has applied this philosophy to her work in the field of environmental education. She demonstrates a level of professionalism, teamwork and commitment that makes her a true leader in the field of environmental education.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation first presented its conservation awards in 1958. "Each year we are amazed at the commitment and creativity of North Carolina citizens in protecting wildlife and wild places," stated Tim Gestwicki, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. "Many of our award winners tell us their Governor's Conservation Achievement Award represents the high point of their career-whether they are full-time scientists or full-time volunteer conservationists."

 "This awards program brings together a remarkably diverse group of conservationists to highlight the `good news' about wildlife conservation in North Carolina," said Gestwicki, "Our primary focus is to applaud and honor these people who work so hard for wildlife and the air, water, land that they and all of us depend upon".

These prestigious awards honor those individuals, governmental bodies, associations and others who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina. These are the highest honors given in the state. By recognizing, publicizing and honoring these conservation leaders - young and old, professional and volunteer - the North Carolina Wildlife Federation hopes to inspire all North Carolinians to take a more active role in protecting the natural resources of our state.

The awards were presented at the Annual Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards banquet and celebration held August 27th at the Hilton RTP in Durham, NC.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to all North Carolina wildlife and its habitat since 1945.

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