Sunset Zoo is excited to announce that Sunset Zoo Education Specialist, Nicole Wade has received the Community/Non-Profit Professional of the Year from the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE).
This award, given annually, during the 2017 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Awards, Friday, April 7, at Sunset Zoo, Manhattan, Kansas, will recognize Wade’s achievements in community education and outreach. Nominated by their peers, these awardees exhibit outstanding innovation, leadership, and achievement, as well as collaboration and cooperation within and beyond the environmental education field. “KACEE is pleased to honor Nicole Wade and our other deserving individuals and organizations, who contribute so much to environmental education in Kansas,” said KACEE President Gina Penzig, Media Relations Manager at Westar Energy.
“Nicole is an incredible asset to the Manhattan community and has made a big impact on environmental education in just a short period of time,” said Scott Shoemaker, Director of Sunset Zoo.
She joined Sunset Zoo as a Program Assistant in October of 2013 and less than a year later, was promoted to the Education Specialist position. One of her first contributions to the environmental education programs of Sunset Zoo was to shift their summer camp programs from games and activities to robust week-long investigations of animals and the environment. She has helped develop hands-on learning to take place in a creative way to benefit both student learning and the Sunset Zoo.
Recognizing the opportunity to expand learning opportunities through volunteers, Wade has also been instrumental in strengthening the training and outreach opportunities for volunteers, using zoo ambassador animals at events and in classrooms. She is also active in engaging the broader Manhattan community in vital citizen science efforts by provide training to community members in assisting scientists with toad and frog tracking, a part of a larger effort across the United States. Wade has also been integral in Sunset Zoo’s Behind the Science initiative to train scientists on public engagement strategies and create opportunities for public audiences to engage directly with scientists. Several of these events have been held in Manhattan and efforts are underway to expand these opportunities to other cities in Kansas.
“Nicole Wade has created a big impact at Sunset Zoo through environmental education and the use of associated best practices. Her reach spans generations from preschool groups to senior centers, and her focus continues to be hands-on interaction with animals and the outdoors,” said Jared Bixby, Sunset Zoo, Curator of Education.
For more information about Sunset Zoo, visit SunsetZoo.com or call 785.587.APES. Sunset Zoo is located at 2333 Oak Street near the Manhattan High School West Campus. Home to over 250 animals and accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the Zoo is committed to inspiring conservation of our natural world.
The mission of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) is to promote and provide effective, non-biased and science-based environmental education for all Kansans. For more information about KACEE, please visit www.kacee.org