Congratulations to our 2014 MAEE Award Recipients!
2014 Non-formal Environmental Educator of the Year Award
Bryan Wood has been described as having the key qualities of an educator: integrity, mastery, warmth, good communication, and passion. He interned at the Audubon Center of the North Woods (ACNW) and was eventually hired as a full-time staff member. In his time at ACNW Bryan quickly showed his strength as a leader and eventually was promoted into the Executive Director position. His affiliations with various environmental associations show his dedication to personal and community growth. As an educator at the Audubon Center he has created, developed and taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses. These courses cover a multitude of topics, from wolf ecology to wilderness navigation. Bryan’s focus to make environmental education accessible and relevant to all can be seen in the adult education opportunities he has created and organized including the Food & Farms Weekend, Birding Bonanza Weekend and the Scenic Minnesota Motorcycle Natural History Tour. In his administrative role Bryan has worked to innovate and renovate the Audubon campus academically and greatly reduced its carbon footprint through energy conservation, efficiency and renewable technology measures.
2014 Formal Environmental Educator of the Year Award
Tim Chase makes the most of his resources, he is a teacher at Murray Middle School and although the school is in an urban setting Tim has a commitment to get his students outside every month of the school year. He uses the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom to facilitate this. He leads his students in collecting phenological data andwatching for birds, as well as leading them in activities to enjoy the wooded area. Tim and his colleagues have worked to integrate the parks and nature areas around the Twin Cities into their classes. His integration of nature and teaching extend beyond the school year, in the summer he leads a trip with students to Wolf Ridge. The impact of these classroom experiences can be seen in the high school students that return to volunteer with the classes and trips. Tim Chase has created courses and built partnerships with the The U.S. Forest Service, St. Anthony Park Community Foundation, and Wolf Ridge that provide an encouraging space for environmental education. His Environmental Inquiry Immersion class, and work with community members to establish the Como Woodland as an official Minnesota DNR School Forest site, display the energy and passion that he has for the education of his students. Tim Chase is an exemplar in integrating environmental education in the classroom.
2014 Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Education Award
Jim Rue has a rich history in environmental education, starting his journey at a young age. As a child he could usually be found playing outdoors, fishing, hiking, looking for rocks and bones, alone or with friends. In the summers during high school he went to Wyoming to backpack in the Big Horn Mountains and later was hired tolead trips. While in college he was a teaching assistant at the Horticultural Learning Center in Saint Paul. It was here that he helped youth connect with nature through bee keeping, gardening, and tending to animals. Jim continued his journey at EXPO elementary school. With funds from Tree Trust, Jim started a Peace Garden that was home to native prairie plants and provided access and opportunities for environmental education. In 1997 Jim had the opportunity to combine his two areas of expertise and became the Special Education teacher at Belwin Outdoor Science. Jim has the opportunity to create environmental curriculum with students ages 3 to 21, providing them rich experiences with a variety of ecological concepts. Students explore topics from turtle monitoring to outdoor photography. He has been diligent in seeking funding for equipment and transportation to meet the educational and accessibility needs of his students. Throughout his career Jim has sought to enhance his knowledge of environmental issues and in 2000, through the Center of Global Education at Augsburg College, he traveled to Namibia and wrote curricula based on the environmental issues he witnessed there. Jim continues to push himself to bring environmental science to students with special needs.