Anyone who has seen the pollinator gardens dotting the University of Kentucky's campus, noticed the outdoor classroom at Cassidy Elementary, or enjoyed the restoration of Vaughn's Branch Creek along Lexington’s Alumni Drive has seen some of Dr. Carmen Agouridis' projects. What may not be as visible to the public, however, is the extensive work she does both at the University of Kentucky and across the state to bring environmental education to life. A PhD and Professional Engineer, Dr. Agouridis has a remarkable gift for making even the most nuanced ecological concepts accessible to her audience.
In 2018, Dr. Agouridis organized a Master Naturalist program for Kentucky, the first in the state. Though still in its infancy, this program, with its focus on training environmental stewards who will in turn become valuable assets to Kentucky's natural areas, has the potential to generate new resources and opportunities for environmental education for years to come. And although the program is indeed a powerful collaboration between educators from a variety of environmentally-related fields, Dr. Agouridis is deserving of a special commendation for the work she has done to make this possible.
See the full list of 2019 winners here.