Colorado Individuals & Programs Receive Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education

MEDIA RELEASE –                                               Contact: Lisa Eadens, 303-273-9527 

The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) is recognizing exemplary and effective environmental education programs and individuals across Colorado who are setting a new standard for learning in their communities. Five programs and nine individuals are being acknowledged with an Award for Excellence in Environmental Education for their outstanding work in helping learners understand their role in the environment. The recipients of the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education will be honored at a lunch reception hosted by CAEE on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Auraria Campus in Denver, CO.

The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and its Board of Directors will honor Luis Benitez, the state’s first director of the newly created Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, with its 2016 President’s Award in recognition of his passion and commitment to ensuring Colorado is the kind of place where outdoor lovers want to live. He brings a strong conviction that not only is education and workforce training critical components of this work, but also in the cultivation of the next generation of adventurers.

Each year an individual is nominated by his/her peers to receive the Enos A. Mills Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding, individual, long-term accomplishments in environmental education (EE). This award is named in honor of Enos Mills, whose writings, photography and passion for education and environmental protection are largely responsible for the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park. This year, Rafael Salgado, Executive Director of Cal-Wood Education Center, near Jamestown, is being recognized with this prestigious award.  As a native Spanish speaker, Rafael has a special ability and deep commitment to engage with and provide experiences for our Latino community of Colorado. He has become a catalyst for helping underserved populations including low-income students and Spanish-speaking families to discover how beautiful and accessible nature can be to them.

Also being recognized this year are seven individuals and five programs who are bringing innovative, inclusive and cross-sector environmental education to Colorado:

Outstanding Environmental Educator Award

James Garcia, Outreach Specialist, Denver Zoological Foundation


Outstanding Youth Environmental Leadership Award

Get Outdoors Leadville Youth Research Team – Angel Bujanda, Samuel Frykholm, Joseph Koch, Samantha Montes, Brayhan Reveles, and Yesenia Martinez

Advancing Environmental Literacy Award

The Alliance Center Hub Program

Innovative Environmental Education Program Award:

Green Star Schools Program, Aurora Public Schools


Pollinators in Peril Distance Learning Series, The Butterfly Pavillion


Sustainability Incentive Program, Douglas County School District


Wooly: Landfills Explained, Pitkin County Solid Waste Center


Outstanding Retiring Educator Recognition

Betsy Leonard


Katie Navin, CAEE Executive Director, said, “The environment is where we live and the decisions we make about the environment impact our economy, our communities and our homes.  All across the state these innovative environmental educators and programs are helping create informed and responsible decision makers.”


CAEE’s Annual Awards Celebration is on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Auraria Campus, Tivoli Turnhalle in Denver, CO. For more information, please visit or contact CAEE at


CAEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting quality and inclusive environmental education by facilitating communication, coordination and professional development among the varied environmental education programs in the state.  A comprehensive electronic information clearinghouse and resource directory for environmental education is available on the organization's web site,

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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phone: 303-273-9527
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