Six master’s degree candidates receive Gaylord Nelson Earth Day Fellowships
Recipients of the 2009 Gaylord Nelson Earth Day Fellowships are: (front row l-r) Francis Blanchard of Rhinelander; Scott Reilly of West Milford, N.J.; (back row l-r) Jennifer Kobylecky of Baraboo; Stefanie Miller of Chino, Calif.; Ginamaria Javurek of Eau Claire; and Alison Cordie of Sartell, Minn.
Six master’s degree candidates in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) received The Wilderness Society’s prestigious Gaylord Nelson Earth Day 2009 Fellowships.
Frances Blanchard of Rhinelander, Alison Cordie of Sartell, Minn., Ginamaria Javurek of Eau Claire, Jennifer Kobylecky of Baraboo, Stefanie Miller of Chino, Calif., and Scott Reilly of West Milford, N.J. were recognized for making significant contributions to promoting conservation ethics and environmental education, and for exhibiting future leadership potential in the field of environmental education. Each award carries a prize of $1,000.
Cordie was selected for the second year in a row. Her research will develop, implement, evaluate and revise a new online course, “Making Environmental Education Relevant for Diverse Audiences.” Evaluation techniques will be utilized by Cordie in order to analyze the course’s effectiveness while continually seeking ways to improve the quality, content and delivery of this course to students. Cordie graduated cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College with majors in environmental studies and geology with a minor in geography, and has completed some master’s work from St. Mary’s University of Minneapolis. She was a summer camp director for the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station (CWES) near Amherst Junction.
Blanchard, a nontraditional student who comes to UWSP with 20-years experience as an environmental educator, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Blanchard’s graduate project is a feasibility study for developing a new master’s of science program in environmental education that involves a partnership between UWSP, the Treehaven residential education facility near Tomahawk, and the Conserve School near Land O’Lakes. Conserve School is an innovative residential college preparatory high school with a special academic focus on wildlife, natural habitats, outdoor sports and ecology. The campus is situated in a pristine setting near the Wisconsin-Michigan border.
Javurek, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at UWSP, also received this fellowship in 2007. She is the graduate assistant at Schmeeckle Reserve and serves as the teaching assistant for oral interpretation methods, park interpretation, interpretive media and environmental interpretation practicum courses. She is the recipient of the 2008-09 Outstanding CNR Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Javurek has also continued her involvement in the student chapters of The Wildlife Society and Izaak Walton League. Her thesis project is evaluating the effectiveness and exploring potential delivery methods and learning modalities for the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame exhibit at Schmeeckle Reserve. After graduation, Javurek plans to move to Anchorage and work for the Alaska State Parks as the Alaska Conservation Corp interpretive specialist.
Kobylecky earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Illinois State University and currently serves as the full-time education coordinator for the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo. Her graduate studies involves developing the interpretive master plan for the newly opened Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, the first formal visitation and interpretation study ever done at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. As part of her master’s thesis, Kobylecky conducted focus groups and surveys to determine what Information Center visitors want, their reactions to interpretive offerings, and their basic demographics. She hopes her project will launch an effort to weave the thread of Leopold’s land ethic through the historic Leopold Shack, farm site, and the new Center.
Miller received her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a natural science emphasis from California State University of Long Beach. She serves as a graduate assistant at CWES. Her graduate thesis project aims to create and evaluate supplementary DVD teaching tools for environmental education practicum students at CWES. Practicum is a UWSP class for students majoring or minoring in education, camp management, environmental education/interpretation, or wildlife education in which students learn how to teach schoolchildren about the outdoors, develop lesson preps, evaluate each other, and teach those programs to visiting school groups. Miller’s supplemental DVD tools attempt to address the challenge of limited training time and provide practicum students with more resources while developing the skills and knowledge to effectively modify and teach outdoor environmental education lessons to K-12 students.
Reilly serves as a teaching assistant in three environmental education courses at UWSP. He was one of only six UWSP students selected to participate in a Global Environmental Management Education Center Student Ambassador international study experience in 2008, spending 12 weeks in India to assist with an ecological study of the 50-kilometer Menali River watershed near the city of Bhilwara. Reilly’s thesis aims to develop a curriculum framework for citizen science to promote students’ environmental literacy for grades 5 – 8. In addition to earning his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from West Virginia University, he taught English in Honduras, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala.
The Wilderness Society initiated the annual recognition in 1990 to mark the 20th anniversary of Earth Day and to honor its founder, Gaylord Nelson, former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and longtime counselor to the Wilderness Society, who died in 2005.
UWSP’s College of Natural Resources is the nation's largest and premier undergraduate institution for natural resources and environmental management. The college has deep roots in Wisconsin's strong conservation heritage, inspired by Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Gaylord Nelson and others. The program's beginnings can be traced to 1946, when the nation's first "conservation education” major was established at UWSP.