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Environmental and Outdoor Education Awards Announced
Six teachers and two organizations from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Marquette Counties have received awards from the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE).

The MAEOE is a statewide professional association promoting environmental and outdoor education in classrooms, nature centers, youth programs, organizations and government agencies in Michigan.

Joan Chadde, education program coordinator for the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education and Michigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, chaired the 2010 MAEOE awards committee.

Chuck Delpier, an earth science teacher at Negaunee Middle School, received the prestigious Julian Smith Award, awarded annually to the one person statewide who exemplifies the best in outdoor education and has made outstanding contributions through a lifetime of service.

Delpier has taught a yearlong Environmental Adventures class at Negaunee Middle School since 1995. He has a passion for getting young people to explore the outdoors and has led several backpacking trips to Isle Royale National Park. He is also a Project WILD workshop facilitator and frequently presents community workshops at Moosewood Nature Center in Marquette.

Four other western UP teachers were among the recipients of the 2010 MAEOE Appreciation Awards. Mike Benda, assistant principal, science teacher and team leader for Jeffers High School’s outdoor and environmental education project at Lake Perrault and the Brown Nature Sanctuary; Janet Larson, a fourth grade teacher with Stanton Township Public Schools and active outdoor educator; Melissa Schneiderhan, fifth grade teacher and team leader for CLK Elementary School’s garden learning experience; and Helen Stenvig, fifth grade teacher at C.J. Sullivan Elementary School in L’Anse and team leader for a K-5 School Forest Project there, were all recognized for their years of effort to engage students in hands-on environmental and outdoor learning.

Keweenaw Land Trust Director Evan McDonald and Pat Toczydlowski, the trust’s land protection specialist, also received a MAEOE Appreciation Award, which recognizes 10 people statewide who have taken exemplary steps to begin successful environmental or outdoor education programs where they live and who enthusiastically promote the goals of outdoor and environmental education.

Karen Bacula, a biology, anatomy and environmental science teacher at Marquette Senior High School, received a MAEOE Recognition Award, which is given to two individuals each year to recognize significant contributions to the fields of environmental and outdoor education in a specialized area, such as journalism, photography, curriculum development or the arts.

Bacula created a seventh grade outdoor science and camping program at Bothwell Middle School and a Middle School Camping Program at Moosewood Nature Center in Marquette. She also started and coordinated a "Celebrate the UP" project to invite the public to learn about the outdoor wonders of the UP.

The MAEOE also awards five Volunteer Service Awards each year. One of the 2010 recipients is Bonnie Hay, director of the Gratiot Lake Conservancy. Hay was recognized for her enthusiastic environmental education programming for youth and adults, promoting conservation of natural resources in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Chadde has worked at Tech for 15 years to engage local teachers and students in environmental education by providing K-12 teacher professional development workshops and summer teacher institutes, and by seeking funding for special projects such as the Torch Lake Remediation Monitoring Project, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, US Environmental Protection Agency grants for stream monitoring, the Lake Superior Youth Symposium, and after-school ecology classes, as well as five years of funding for the outdoor science investigations field trip program.

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