|PRATT – Mike Rader, wildlife education supervisor for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, has been selected by the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) to receive the John K. Strickler Award. Each year, KACEE recognizes leaders in education with its Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Awards. Nominated by their peers, recipients are chosen for exhibiting outstanding innovation, leadership and achievement, as well as collaboration and cooperation within and beyond the environmental education field.
“These award recipients are the best in their field and KACEE is pleased to honor these deserving individuals and organizations, who contribute so much to environmental education in Kansas,” said Gina Penzig, KACEE president and media relations manager at Westar Energy.
The John K. Strickler Award, named after one of KACEE’s founders and first executive director John K. Strickler, honors the lifetime achievements, contributions, and leadership of individuals in the Kansas conservation and environmental education field. Rader was selected because of his long-term commitment to environmental education, which began early in his career when he worked as a conservation worker at Wilson State Park.
At Wilson State Park, Rader provided visitors with educational programs about the unique wildlife in the park, as well as his love for the area. In 2007, Rader was promoted to wildlife education coordinator where he took his passion for teaching about the environment statewide. Currently, Rader oversees staff and programming at the Milford Nature Center, Prairie Center in Olathe, Pratt Education Center and Museum, Southeast Kansas Nature Center in Galena, and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. Rader also coordinates the Outdoor Wildlife Learning Sites (OWLS) program, promoting and funding outdoor classrooms at 167 schools across the state, where students can engage in onsite, hands-on outdoor learning labs.
Rader also spearheads ECO-Meets, which are statewide scholarship competitions for high school students. Hundreds of high school students from around the state participate each year, many of whom go on to pursue careers in the natural sciences as a result of their experience.
Other award winners recognized alongside Rader this year include:
KACEE Awards – Flint Hills Map and Education Program, Elmdale (Community/Non-Profit); Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society, Pittsburg (Community/Non-Profit); Judy Boltman, Topeka (Government); Melanie Falcon, Lindsborg (PreK-16 Education); Park Management and Conservation Program, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (PreK-16 Education).
Connie Elpers Rising Star Award – Amber Myers, Manhattan
Kansas Green School of the Year Award – Chisholm Middle School, Newton
Awards will be presented at a celebration hosted by KACEE on Friday, April 6, 2018, at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan. The event is sponsored by KACEE, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Sunset Zoo, Midwest Energy, and the Franklin County Conservation District. To purchase tickets, and for more information on the awards, visit www.kacee.org or call (785) 532-1902.
|Now Is The Time To Complete A Boating Education Course
Posted: 14 Mar 2018 03:01 PM PDT
PRATT – If blue skies and sunshine have your family thinking about getting on the water, it’s time to think about boating education, too. It won’t be long before you’re enjoying a day of boating, and your teen asks to take the wheel. To ensure everyone is happy and safe, sign your teenagers up for a boating education class now, so they can get straight to the good times with you this summer.
To encourage boaters to sign up for a boating education course, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is partnering with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to promote the “Spring Aboard – Take a Boating Education Course” campaign March 18-24, 2018.
During the campaign, many boating course providers will be offering incentives and discounts for students who enroll in, or complete, a course March 18-24. Two of Kansas’ online course providers, Boat-Ed and BoaterExam, will be offering boating education courses at a 50-percent discount.
“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water, and they’re likely to provide a more enjoyable experience for their passengers, as well.” said Chelsea Hofmeier, KDWPT boating education coordinator. “Don’t head out on the water without knowing what you’re doing; take a course.”
U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 77 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the operator had never received boating education instruction. In Kansas, a boater education course is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1989, and under the age of 21, wanting to operate a motorboat or sailboat without adult supervision.
Traditional classroom courses are also offered through KDWPT and the schedule can be accessed at ksoutdoors.com/Boating/Boating-Education.
For more information on boating safety, contact Hofmeier at [email protected] or (620) 672-0770.
|Biologists To Survey Greater Prairie Chickens During Breeding Period
Posted: 14 Mar 2018 02:58 PM PDT
PRATT – An icon of the Kansas prairie, the greater prairie chicken, will soon be the subject of an aerial survey conducted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) every three years. From sunrise until approximately two-and-a-half hours after sunrise, KDWPT biologists will work with a contracted aerial service company to operate three helicopters throughout the state’s greater prairie chicken range, including the eastern Smoky Hills, Flint Hills, Glaciated Plains, Northern High Plains, Osage Cuestas and Chautauqua Hills regions (northcentral and eastern half of the state). Surveys will take place during the greater prairie chicken lekking period when the birds are displaying on leks, or booming grounds, around March 15 to May 15.
Data collected from the aerial surveys will be used in conjunction with data from KDWPT’s annual ground surveys to further document population trends and better determine the species’ response to current management efforts.
For more information on the greater prairie chicken, including a map of the species’ range in Kansas, visit ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Upland-Birds/Greater-Prairie-Chicken.