The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) is recognizing exemplary and effective environmental education programs and individuals across Colorado who set the standard for quality learning in their communities. The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is among ten programs being acknowledged with an Award for Excellence in Environmental Education for their outstanding work in helping learners understand their role in the environment.
The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department’s (NAD) education program is being honored for leadership in developing inclusive, effective, cooperative and cross-sector environmental education programs. The award highlights innovative and needs-based educational programs reaching out to a diversity of audiences, through compelling partnerships, to increase environmental and conservation awareness among their participants.
In 2013, NAD directly reached 11,001 people through environmental education to the community through:
• Community Programs- The NAD offers over 200 free activities, classes and special events for families and community members each year. Most are listed in the 39-page Tracks & Trails booklet, published annually.
• School Programs- Free field trips for elementary school students to local natural area sites are offered, mostly in the spring and fall.
• Programs by Request- Free, customized field trips or presentations for groups are provided at a mutually agreeable location, date and time.
• Service Learning- One day stewardship volunteer projects such as planting trees, cleaning up litter or building trails all include an educational component.
The NAD education program was established when the Natural Resources Advisory Board directed the creation of a Master Naturalist program. Master Naturalist volunteers are highly trained educators and community ambassadors. The first Master Naturalist training was held in 1994 and to this day, they staff the majority of the environmental education offerings. There are over 160 Master Naturalist and Master Naturalist Assistant volunteers who donated 2,324 hours in 2013, a value of $52,127. The NAD education program supports inclusivity. In 2012 they exceeded their goal of reaching 8-10% of the community with the demographics of our participants reflecting the demographics of the community.
Katie Navin, CAEE Executive Director, said, “The environment is where we live and the decisions we make about the environment impact our economy, our communities and our homes. All across the state these innovative environmental educators and programs are helping create informed and responsible decision makers.”
All recipients will be showcased at CAEE’s Sixteenth Annual Awards Celebration being held on Friday, March 21, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the University of Denver. The banquet is open to the public, but tickets must be purchased by March 10, 2014. For information and tickets, please contact CAEE at 303-273-9527 or visit www.caee.org
Thank you Larimer County and Fort Collins voters! You make award-winning educational programs, land conservation and other visitor services possible through your support of citizen-initiated sales tax ballot measures.