Congratulations Amy Brown, informal educator of the year!
Amy Brown, North Cascades Institute recognized in June 20 celebration
North Cascades Institute is excited to announce that Amy Brown, the Institute’s North Cascades Wild Program Coordinator, is the recipient of the 2011 E3 Washington Award of Excellence in the Informal Educator category! This statewide award recognizes an outstanding educator who provides learning for all ages in settings outside of, and/or linked to, the formal classroom. She was recognized in an awards banquet at the McKinstry Innovation Center in Seattle on June 20.
Amy has been coordinating and leading the Institute’s North Cascades Wild program since its inception in 2006. North Cascades Wild features 8- and 12-day summer wilderness expeditions in North Cascades National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in northwestern Washington State. High school students canoe camp, backpack and complete conservation service projects while developing leadership skills and learning about the natural and cultural history of the North Cascades region.
Amy earned her M.Ed. in Environmental Education through the Institute’s graduate residency program with Western Washington University. North Cascades Wild grew out a vision Amy nurtured as a graduate student when she was leading canoe camping trips on Ross Lake in 2005. To date, Amy has helped more than 300 diverse youth experience the outdoors and wilderness areas of the North Cascades, coordinated stewardship projects that cumulatively have contributed more than 10,000 hours of service work to public lands, and helped to connect alumni to next step opportunities to continue their engagement in the outdoors, stewardship and leadership development.
Amy also initiated the first North Cascades Youth Leadership Conference in November 2010, which has continued as a way to reconnect alumni of North Cascades Institute youth programs to their stewardship experiences and public lands, enhance students’ leadership skills and connect them directly with organizations and agencies that offer ways to keep young people engaged.
Amy has more than fifteen years of experience taking youth and adults outdoors, including working as a whitewater kayaking instructor and raft guide in North Carolina and Tennessee, adventure travel leader in Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico, interpretive park ranger in Utah and environmental educator in Washington, DC and Washington State. With her passion for beautiful and inspiring places, she has counted breeding birds on Mount Rainier, monitored peregrine falcons in northwestern Colorado and studied rainforests in Australia. Amy earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Studio Art from American University in Washington, DC in 1999. When she isn’t leading students into the backcountry, she enjoys whitewater kayaking, skiing, backpacking, nature journaling, thimbleberries, alpenglow, the song of the hermit thrush and making up silly songs.
Since 1990, E3 Washington, formerly the Environmental Education Association of Washington (EEAW) has been the professional home for diverse environmental and sustainability educators and their supporters. E3 Washington works broadly with education, tribal, business, governmental and community-based partners to enhance and support learning for sustainability.
E3 Washington’s Honorary Co-Chairs include Governor Chris Gregoire, Bill Ruckelshaus and Billy Frank Junior. Governor Gregoire stated, “Recognizing environmental and sustainability education is the vision we had when E3 Washington was formed. These award winners are an inspiration to me and to the citizens of the state and are the type of innovators we need to inspire current and future generations. Thanks to McKinstry and E3 Washington for sponsoring the celebration and congratulations to the award winners.”
Awards photos by Jess Newley.