Elaine Andrews

Director, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Environmental Resources Center 2005

Walter E. Jeske Award


By Judy Braus

Good afternoon everyone. I am thrilled to have the honor to present this year’s Walter E. Jeske award winner. I think almost everyone in this room has interacted in some way with our award winner, given her 30 years of service to NAAEE and the EE community. She is a smart, generous, committed, and enthusiastic professional with a love of nonformal education and experiential learning. She currently hails from Wisconsin—but was born in New Jersey and was smart enough to get away at the early age of 6. (Just kidding all you New Jerseyites…)

Here are some other tidbits that show the breadth and depth of this year’s nominee:

  • She’s been on the NAAEE Board of Directors three times.
  • She’s a Trustee to the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation.
  • She has a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Chicago and a Master of Science from the University of Michigan in Natural Resource Policy and Management.
  • She has published extensively over the course of the past 30 years.
  • She was part of a team that won Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award for reinventing government.
  • She won the Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Elaine Andrews is this year’s winner of the Walter E. Jeske award for achievement in the field of environmental education and service to NAAEE.

I talked with Bill Dickinsen, a colleague of Elaine’s back in Virginia. Bill is the Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, and he has worked closely with Elaine over the years. He also knew Walt Jeske. Bill said that Walt and Elaine would have shared much in their enthusiasm for experiential education and actively engaging others in conservation. “I have the utmost respect for both Walt and Elaine and believe that he would be smiling to know that someone with Elaine’s accomplishments would be winning an award in his honor.”

I could take the rest of the day to talk about Elaine’s achievements – but they only allowed me 400 words. So I have culled it down to try to hit the highlights (but there was no way to keep it to 400 words, if you’re counting.)

As many of you know, Elaine has been an active member, supporter, and leader of NAAEE for many years. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, she chaired a variety of committees, coauthored the book “Action Models in Adult Environmental Education,” and served as the chair of the Nonformal EE Section. 

Most recently, Elaine has helped NAAEE through one of its roughest spots. She served as President in 2001. Although all presidencies have their share of troubles (just ask Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton – I want to be bipartisan here), she served as president during an extremely difficult time in NAAEE’s history. She had to deal with a change in the executive staff, as well as many financial issues. And she stepped up to the plate to fill in as NAAEE executive director until the fall of 2003. The current “re-birth” of NAAEE could not have happened without her spirit, knowledge, perseverance, talent, and enthusiasm.

In addition to NAAEE activities, Elaine has had to work for a living…and her real work is just as impressive as her service to NAAEE. Since the mid-1970s, Elaine has worked for the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. During that time, Elaine has provided leadership in the development of several nationally recognized environmental education programs.

She created a program called Educating Young People About Water (EYPAW) to help educators develop community-based water education programs for young people.

Elaine also helped create the Cooperative Extension Supports Youth Environmental Stewardship – a national project that seeks to strengthen the abilities of Extension educators, 4-H county and state faculty to serve communities, youth leaders, and young people.

Her Give Water a Hand is a national watershed education program designed to involve young people in local environmental service projects. And she also produced Best Education Practices in Water Outreach Education, that included tips on everything from adult education principles to civic engagement strategies.

Elaine has served on numerous boards and steering committees, and has been actively involved in helping to promote EE through her work at the local, state, and national level.

Elaine also has a talent for engaging diverse audiences in conservation. She really cares about the people she’s working with – from farmers to policy makers – and finds innovative ways to motivate them to get involved.

In her nomination of Elaine, Bora Simmons said, “Throughout her career, Elaine has demonstrated how to transcend governmental, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries and bring high-quality education programs to diverse audiences. Her programs are comprehensive, practical, motivating, and action oriented. And she is a great believer in the value of partnerships.”

It gives me great pleasure to present Elaine Andrews with this year’s Walter E. Jeske award for her outstanding contributions to the field of EE. 


Elaine Andrews

Press Release

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