Congratulations to our 2012 MAEE Award Recipients!
Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Education
Author, Educational Adventurer, and Retired Director at the Audubon Center of the Northwoods in Sandstone, Minnesota.
Mike has shown leadership in the field of environmental education throughout his entire career. He was the Director of the Audubon Center of the North Woods for 38 years. During that time, he not only developed a successful residential environmental learning center but aided in the success of many other environmental education endeavors including starting over 15 Charter Schools that emphasized environmental education. He was an integral part of the teams that started degree programs in Outdoor and Environmental Education at both Northland College and Hamline University. He continues to teach numerous courses for Hamline’s Master’s Degree in Natural Science, which includes the integration of several social media technologies.
Mike has been involved in many state organizations. He helped start the Minnesota Naturalist Association (MNA) in the early 1970’s. He has been involved with NAI, NAAEE, National Audubon Society Nature Center Group, American Camping Association, and MAEE. He has helped numerous organizations with strategic planning, fundraising, and training courses. Also, Mike was involved with the early planning of the International Wolf Center.
Mike has written over 1000 newspaper and magazine articles in addition to publishing over a dozen books! This impressive literary list includes curriculum, text books, topics related to sense of place, environmental education, natural history, and the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.
Currently, Mike serves on the Minnesota Coastal Management Council as he recently completed a walk around the entire Lake Superior; raising awareness of water related issues. He is currently planning another “Education Adventure” with his wife Kate, walking the entire length of the Mississippi River in 2013! It will be a great opportunity for students, teachers, families, and citizens to learn from their journey about this magnificent water resource!
MAEE is proud to honor Mike Link as the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Education Award. He has exemplified leadership in the field in environmental education and continues to serve with passion teaching about the natural world around us.
Formal Environmental Educator of the Year
Second Grade Teacher with Bay View Elementary School in Proctor, Minnesota.
Rob has turned a small woodlot behind Bay View Elementary School into a hands-on outdoor classroom for hundreds of students and families. The woodlot is an official part of the DNR School Forest program and is used weekly by students. Rob has been the driving force behind teacher trainings so his colleagues feel confident usingthe forest for teaching any discipline.
Rob has provided leadership so the school forest and environmental education is funded. He has written grants and hosted pancake breakfasts (with maple syrup made from the forest by the students). With funding, supplies have been purchased, an informational kiosk built, as well as trails maintained so both students and their family can enjoy the space year-round. To help further nurture this connection, Rob has established the Bay View School Forest Club creating a newsletter, website and Facebook page for easy communication. In his summers, Rob can be found in Wyoming and the BWCAW leading trips for teachers and students.
Rob also has spent many hours volunteering in the environmental education community. He is a proud supporter of Project Learning Tree, The Temperate Forest Foundation, Duluth Tree Commission, Superior Hiking Trail Board, Hartley Nature Center Board, City of Duluth Park and Recreation Board, and MAEE. MAEE is proud to have had his leadership on the Teacher Benefits Committee, assistance with conference planning and a contributing writer for the MAEE newsletter.
Nonformal Environmental Educator of the Year
Environmental Education Specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service at the Prairie Wetland Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
Molly has been contributing to the field of environmental education for over 20 years! She currently works at thePrairie Wetlands Learning Center (PWLC) as a Program Coordinator. She teaches top-of-the-line environmental education classes for k-12 students, families, teacher trainings, and environmental education internships. With her vast experience and knowledge in the field she is a wonderful mentor to young professionals. She has also been instrumental in developing the PWLC Environmental Education Strategies, creating and evaluating curriculum, and helping restore a school prairie to be used as an outdoor classroom and a community park.
Molly volunteers in both her local community and for MAEE. Throughout the year she involves the local community in learning about nature through numerous class offerings such as bird banding and snowshoeing. She also has been part of the MAEE board serving as Secretary, committee member, and continues to be involved as an active member when help is needed. Also, she has encouraged several PWLC Interns to get involved with MAEE to network, learn, and get involve with their state environmental education organization.