Local programs recognized

Study Buddy Stewarship Project, Yampatika win awards

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Two local programs have been recognized for innovatively reaching a broad audience with their message of conservation and care for the land.

The Study Buddy Stewardship Project and Yampatika are recipients of the 2002 Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education.

The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education presented the awards earlier this month to an individual and 11 programs in the state that educate young and old about the natural environment.

The Study Buddy Stewardship Project received the K-12 Education Award for using ecology to bridge the gap between young children and teenagers.

The program brings high school and elementary students together to increase their knowledge of their local environment.

Elaine Sturges, an early childhood and conservation education specialist who organizes the program, said participants not only improve their science and literary skills, but also gain confidence as they realize how much they can learn from each other.

The project is an offspring of the Yampa River Ecology Project that first paired high school and first-grade students in Routt County to study the ecology of the Yampa River in 1999.

Funding from the Dunn and Chevron Texaco Foundations has fostered additional study buddy teams throughout Colorado schools.

Yampatika's Educational Partnership received the 2002 Community Award for teaching residents and visitors about Northwest Colorado's natural and cultural resources.

Its environmental education workshops and conferences have expanded this year to include llama treks, birding, composting, computer recycling, tracking, mushrooming, navigation and backcountry survival courses and historical tours.

Yampatika pursues strong and diverse partnerships with a broad base of organizations. Such partnerships allow the organization to reach more than 19,000 participants annually. Its nature store reaches an additional 5,000 visitors every year.

The organization's educational dioramas and discovery boxes offer hands-on, place-based activities, guided walks and campfire programs throughout the Yampa Valley.

Environmental education award winners were recognized Nov. 1 in Parker at The Wildlife Experience, a museum that combines wildlife art with hands-on educational displays.

The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education is a statewide nonprofit organization that facilitates communication, collaboration and cooperation among environmental education organizations, programs and individuals in the state.

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