The Iowa Association of Naturalists and Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (IAN-ICEC) Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education recognize the incredible contributions of environmental educators, partners, and supporters to the advancement of conservation / environmental education in Iowa.
The IAN-ICEC Environmental Education Excellence Awards are named in honor of those who made important contributions to the understanding of the wealth of Iowa’s natural and cultural resources. Many had childhood opportunities to learn about and enjoy the natural world in the company of a parent or mentor. All are examples of intelligent stewards of the land worth emulating.
IAN-ICEC Award Winners:
- 2022 (pdf)
- 2021 (pdf)
- 2020 (pdf)
- 2019 (pdf)
- 2018 (pdf)
- 2015 (pdf)
- 2014 (pdf)
- 2013 (pdf)
- 2012 (pdf)
Click here for the award application (PDF).
Click here for the award application (Word Doc).
Award nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. December 1st each year and can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org as well!
Aldo Leopold Environmental Education Award
For Lifetime Achievement in EE Excellence and Leadership
This award may be given to an individual or an organization. Provide a description of exemplary service in the field of environmental education including number of years, accomplishments, and service to community or state organizations. Award recipients in this category may receive this award once only.
|Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) is considered the father of ecology, wildlife management, and modern conservation. He was the author of the environmental classic A Sand County Almanac. He was a professor, writer, forester, and field biologist whose collective contributions to conservation defy a one paragraph description. His most important contribution to modern conservation was the incorporation of his understanding of the natural world into his personal values and beliefs. His “Land Ethic,” a working definition of right and wrong, is now the philosophical foundation upon which environmentally sound decisions can be made.|
Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award
For Outstanding Efforts by an Environmental Educator
This award will recognize a formal or non-formal educator for innovative EE programming beyond her/his job expectations. Describe overall involvement in EE including innovative programming and how this individual has performed beyond job requirements. One reference letter may be included. Award recipients in this category may receive this award once only.
|Bohumil Shimek (1861-1937) was a professor of botany at the University of Iowa and the first director of the Lakeside Laboratory at Lake Okoboji. He was among the first to extend his educational goals beyond botany and nature study, to include appreciation, enjoyment, and the importance of acting to preserve and protect the natural world. For that reason, Shimek is considered Iowa’s first environmental educator.|
Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award
For an Outstanding EE Program for Youth or Conducted by Youth (Preschool-Grade 12)
This award may be presented to an individual or a group. Describe the program’s uniqueness, the benefits to youth and the community, and student involvement. Also considering uniqueness, level of student involvement, and benefits to the youth and community. Award recipients in this category may receive this award once only.
|Chris Holt (1974-1995) was only a young man when he died, hardly old enough to leave an environmental legacy such as that of Aldo Leopold or Ding Darling. However, he did leave behind good memories of a young person who enthusiastically learned about the natural world with his family and shared that love of the outdoors with his friends.|
“Ding” Darling Environmental Education Award
For Outstanding EE Program or Event which Informs and Educates the General Public
This award may be presented to an individual or an organization for an annual event, ongoing program, or one-time special event. Describe the program or project and how it was particularly creative and effective. Describe how the program/project was evaluated, including numbers of individuals reached. Award recipients in this category may receive this award once only.
|Jay N. ‘Ding’ Darling (1876-1962) is most well-known among Iowans as a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Des Moines Register and Leader. He was also influential in the creation of the Teacher’s Conservation Camp in the early 1960s. His drawings often had ecological or conservation themes, and served to raise a new awareness of the fragile nature of such natural resources as Iowa’s productive topsoil and its diverse abundant wildlife. Of his drawings, Darling once said, “The cartoon is the applesauce in which political pills were immersed and fed to unwilling children.”|
Sylvan Runkel Environmental Education School Award
For Outstanding Whole-School EE Program
Describe the overall program, including whole school involvement, cross-disciplinary approach, support by administration and staff, innovative uses of outdoor classrooms, how the program benefits the community, and student involvement. Student and parent comments may be included. This award is given to a traditional school (not an individual or special program sponsored by another entity, though the school may have co-sponsors). Award recipients in this category cannot reapply for this award for the following two years.
|Sylvan Runkel (1907-1995) is remembered for his quiet humor, expertise on Iowa’s natural history, and sweat-stained ranger’s hat. He co-authored four books, including Wildflowers of Iowa’s Woodlands, Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie, and Wildflowers and Other Plants of Iowa’s Wetlands. He was a fascinating individual, an interesting leader of nature hikes, and an insightful educator who believed strongly in the value of direct experience with the environment.|
Frederic Leopold Environmental Education Award
For outstanding EE efforts by Business, Industry, or Labor
Describe the EE efforts including benefits to the community, goals of the programs, and why the educational efforts were initiated. Consider also longevity of results, target audience, and that the efforts are above and beyond legal requirements. Project may receive this award once only.
|Frederic Leopold (1895-1989) was Aldo Leopold’s youngest brother. He was a successful business professional and community leader who believed strongly in his company’s motto, “Built on honor to endure.” He applied the same values of honor and respect to the environment that he applied to his work and family. He shared his brother Aldo’s gifts of scientific curiosity and enjoyment of the outdoors. In his spare time and in his own backyard, he conducted one of the world’s most extensive studies of the mating and nesting habits of wood ducks. Around his home in Burlington, he is still remembered as “Mr. Wood duck.”|
Ada Hayden Conservation Education Award
For Outstanding Efforts to Educate About Preservation, Land Management, or Natural Resource Conservation
This award may be presented to individuals or organizations. Describe the efforts involved in educating others (which may be conservation professionals or private landowners) including the purposes, future plans, and target audiences of the conservation education programs. Also should be above and beyond person’s job, suited to audience’s needs, longevity of effort, and a measure of effectiveness. Project may receive this award once only.
|Ada Hayden (1884-1950) was a professor of botany at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). She was the first woman and one of the first four individuals to earn a Ph.D. from Iowa State. Dr. Hayden is considered to be the first voice for the preservation of Iowa’s prairies. She did the pioneering research to locate and document Iowa’s remaining tracts of native prairie. Today, nearly half of the acreage she recommended is protected by state and county agencies. She was among the first to recognize that many of Iowa’s prairie species could be found in roadsides.|
For more information about Important Iowa Conservationists, read Influential Voices from Iowa’s Nature Series. Some of the award namesakes are included.
Outstanding Environmental Education Program (two categories: 2 or less full-time equivalent naturalists or 3 or more full-time equivalent naturalists)
Describe examples of effective programs uniquely suited to the local EE needs in your area. Other items considered for judging may include: brief history of the program, goals and evaluations of program; creative programming; staff size (include paid, full time staff & seasonal staff); numbers of programs given and number of participants; passive interpretation efforts; and annual EE budget. Award recipients in this category cannot reapply for this award for the following two years.
This award may be presented to an individual who has shown dedication promoting and assisting with environmental education efforts. Describe the person’s willingness to serve, level of involvement, and accomplished projects or tasks. One reference letter may be included. Award recipients may receive this award once only.
Outstanding Interpretative Print Media
This award may be presented to an individual or an organization for the development of newsletters, brochures, or trail guides. Describe the goals and purpose of the project and how it was particularly creative and effective. Describe how the project was evaluated including the number of individuals reached. Please include an example of the project with submission. Project may receive this award once only.
Outstanding Interpretative Non-Print Media
This award may be presented to an individual or an organization for the development of websites, podcasts, or film/video. Describe the goals and purpose of the project and how it was particularly creative and effective. Describe how the project was evaluated including the number of individuals reached. Please include an example of the project with submission. Project may receive this award once only.