Berea College was recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) with the 2019 Outstanding Service to Environmental Education by an Organization award for incorporating environmental education into its sustainability initiatives.
Berea College has sustainably managed 9,000 acres of forestland for more than 100 years and started the Berea College Forest Outreach Center to bring the community together to learn about the natural world. The college also operates the Berea College Farm Store, which uses produce from Berea’s farm and local farmers to feed the community and stock its cafeteria.
Outside of the campus, Berea College partnered with Patron Tequila and John Paul Dejoria to address the problem of food insecurity in Appalachia by launching the ongoing Grow Appalachia initiative in 2009. In consultation with David Orr, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College, the college helped create and operates an affordable housing option called Eco Village that promotes sustainability through community organizing.
“Berea College is honored to be recognized for its leadership in environmental education,” said Lyle Roelofs, Berea College president. “The College’s dedication to stewarding the resources of its region is foundational, as expressed in Berea’s Eight Great Commitments, which guide all of the College’s operations. An emphasis on environmental education goes far beyond the classrooms, extending to campus residence halls, the College farm, forest and the wider region.”
The Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award began in 1974 to recognize environmental educators and advocates who have made notable contributions to the field. Individuals and organizations at the global, regional national and local levels are eligible.
“Berea College’s long-term commitment to sustainability sets an example for all colleges and universities throughout the world,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director of NAAEE. “The staff’s dedication to their students and the surrounding community sets them apart as leaders in environmental justice and environmental protection.”
This award was presented at NAAEE’s 48th Annual Conference in Lexington, KY with 10 other awards that recognize exemplary individuals and organizations in the field of environmental education.