2016 Outstanding Environmental Educator Award

James Garcia

Outreach Specialist - Bilingual Programs, Denver Zoological Foundation


James Garcia is an Outreach Specialist at the Denver Zoo who provides educational programming for schools and community centers around Colorado. This past year he began implementing STEM education with middle and high school students from St. Vrain Valley High School's Innovation Center in Longmont, CO. James has been working with these students to build an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) which was completed and tested by students in various lakes in Colorado and Denver Zoo's aquarium. The purpose of this project is not just to get students involved in STEM education, getting outdoors, or utilizing technology; but to use this technology in the conservation of an endangered species: the Lake Titicaca Frog. In June of 2016, these students handed off their finished ROV to James who then brought it to Lake Titicaca in Peru for conservation biologists to use to get underwater footage of Lake Titicaca and the frog. At the lake's altitude of 12,500 feet, this ROV can dive deeper than any diver can safely go. Once the biologists at Lake Titicaca have been able to test it for their own use, they can discuss with the students back in the U.S. about the adjustments that can be made to improve the robot. This is an ongoing partnership with teachers and students, the biologists of Lake Titicaca, and Denver Zoo all thanks to the innovative leadership of James Garcia. He is an inspiration to his coworkers, international partners, and most importantly the students he reaches at home and abroad.

CAEE works to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.

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