Most of the award winners standing together after the ceremony with Judy Braus

The 2019 Awards for Excellence Winners

Judy Braus, Executive Director of NAAEE, and Charlotte Clark, Chair of NAAEE's Board, honored eight exemplary environmental educators and two outstanding organizations with Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education at NAAEE's 48th Annual Conference in Lexington, Kentucky this fall.

The Awards for Excellence started in 1974 with an award for Outstanding Service to Environmental Education, which was presented to Oregon Governor Tom McCall and San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson for their regional efforts in promoting environmental education. Today, there are up to 17 differents awards that recognize environmental educators for their innovation, contributions to environmental education research, promotion of environmental justice, and leadership in the field.

Aside from the Director's Award, NAAEE members nominate candidates for each award. NAAEE's Awards Committee reviews each nomination based on criteria unique to each award. Award recipients are recognized during a special luncheon held annually at NAAEE’s conference. 

Below are each of the 2019 Award Winners with a quote about their work:

Brenda Metcalf Photo of Brenda Metcalf with JudyBraus and Laura Downey

Walter E. Jeske Award

"I am standing here because of the many, many people that came before me in Ohio."



Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Representatives from the Califronia Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education standing with Judy Braus

Outstanding Affiliate Organization

"We work to provide programs and practitioners with the tools, resources, and expertise to ensure that future generations are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to respond to an ever-changing world."


Queta González Queta González holding her award in the middle of the photo with Judy Braus and Charlotte Clark on both sides of her

Rosa Parks and Grace Lee Boggs Outstanding Service

"A focus on justice through the work of equity, diversity and inclusion have been among the most significant elements that have shaped my life. By its nature, this is not solitary work and thus, this award is about all of the people who are working toward transformation. The commitment that I have seen folks embody gives me great hope for our future.”

Dr. Marianne Krasny Dr. Marianne Krasny Speaking at a Podium

Outstanding Contributions to Research in EE

"At Cornell, I am privileged to work with an impressive international group of graduate students, all of whom conduct engaged research in partnership with environmental educators working in the field."


Dr. Tzu-Chau Chang Dr. Tzu-Chau Chang smiling

Pepe Marcos-Iga Award for Innovation in Environmental Education

"The Taiwan Environmental Education Act was designed to lead a large-scale social paradigm shift from striving for abundance to fighting for sustainability."


Dr. Melinda Wilder Dr. Melinda Wilder standing between Judy Braus and Charlotee Clark

Higher Education Educator of the Year

"By working with preservice and inservice teachers through undergraduate and graduate classes at the University, I hopefully initiated a ripple effect—wherein they too help their students connect with the natural world."


Dave Murduck Dave Murduck Smiling

K-12 Educator of the Year

"My success involves having partnerships with multiple stakeholders. Working with the school district, members of the community, and informal educators has allowed me to offer amazing stewardship projects and opportunities for my students."


Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez Jennifer Hubbard-Sánchez standing with her daughter staring up at her

Outstanding Service to EE, Individual-Local

"What has inspired me is working with and learning from so many dedicated young people who are beyond just educating the public, but really working toward getting folks to understand the 'why' of environmental programming."


Jill Korach Jill Korach smiling

Outstanding Service to EE, Individual-Global

"Thank you to all the Dragonfly global partners and team members who support educational experiences in conservation settings worldwide."



Berea College Berea College Representative with Judy Braus

Outstanding Service to EE, Organization-Regional

"An emphasis on environmental education goes far beyond the classrooms, extending to campus residence halls, the College farm, forest and the wider region."



Interested in getting involved in NAAEE's Awards for Excellence? Consider becoming a member.

Photos credited to Melissa Blackall.