Held at Lexington’s McConnell Springs Park, KAEE’s 2019 Excellence in EE Awards Ceremony and Annual Member Meeting took place on Tuesday, October 29, and welcomed more than 40 KAEE members and friends with the opportunity to network, hear KAEE updates, vote on current association matters, and recognize KAEE’s award winners, the Kentucky Environmental Education Council’s Master Educators, and the retiring and new KAEE board members.
During the event, KAEE Executive Director Ashley Hoffman thanked the 2018-2019 Board of Directors and offered additional words of gratitude to those board members who have now completed their service—Mark Young, Trevor Claiborn, Jennifer Meunier, Carmen Agouridis, and Henrietta Sheffel. Henrietta, who has just completed seven consecutive years on the KAEE board, has served as treasurer since 2012, and her remarkable dedication to the organization was highlighted during the meeting.
Hoffman also provided her annual Executive Director update, sharing the ways KAEE is working to advance environmental literacy around the state and beyond through educator and facilitator workshops, soon-to-be-released online EEcredits program, working groups who are connecting EE activities with education areas beyond science, and by serving as a pilot state for the North American Association for Environmental Education’s “Adopt the Guidelines” of Excellence trainings. She also highlighted KAEE’s ongoing and important work with the Southeastern Environmental Education Association and the NAAEE, as well as sharing highlights from the recent NAAEE Annual Conference, which KAEE co-hosted.
Members who were in attendance then approved the 2019 board slate, which included returning board members Jennifer Beach, Vivian Bowles, and Tonya Swan and new board members Jackie Gallimore and Jason Nally. Remaining on the board for the 2019-2020 year are past chair Billie Hardin, chair Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez, vice chair Blair Hecker, secretary Whitney Wurzel, and members Arnetta McClary and Rae McEntyre.
Members in attendance also approved changes to the KAEE Constitution, which include the addition of new term limits and specify that no board member can serve for more than seven consecutive years.
KEEC’s Executive Director Billy Bennett and Administrative Specialist Wesley Bullock then recognized the 2018 and 2019 Master Educators, who have completed the state’s Professional Environmental Educator Certification course and, afterward, completed six consecutive years of continuing education requirements in the field. The list includes Joe Baust, Vivian Bowles, Ashley Hoffman, Kathleen Johnson, Ginny Lewis, Tresine Logsdon, Diane Moon, Karen Pratt, Michelle Shane, Henrietta Sheffel, Andy Sigmon, Christa Weidner, Terry Wilson, and Maria Zoretic-Goodwin.
The KAEE 2019 Excellence in EE Awards recognize Lee Newbury (Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Environmental Education), Carmen Agouridis (M.K. Dickerson Award for Excellence in Environmental Education), Ashley Mike (Rising Star Award for Excellence in Environmental Education), Highlands High School (Outstanding PreK-12 School for Excellence in Environmental Education), Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy (Outstanding Community Partner for Excellence in Environmental Education), and Maker’s Mark Distillery (Outstanding Business for Excellence in Environmental Education).
To conclude the event, Dr. Terry Wilson, a founding member of KAEE and beloved EE champion in Kentucky and way beyond, introduced KAEE's new Legacy Fund. Wilson spoke of his background in EE, his dedication to its mission, and how he is helping jumpstart the Legacy Fund with a $5,000 gift not to be used to support the great work already being done by KAEE but to “do magic,” he said, “beyond what KAEE has been able to do thus far.”