News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 251

Tracy Rowland finalist for National Environmental Education award

Tracy RowlandTracy Rowland, Project Manager for the San Joaquin River Gorge, has been named one of only four finalists nationwide for the Bureau of Land Management's 2006 Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education Award, presented by the National Association for Interpretation. Tracy will represent BLM-California and the Gorge's cooperative partners at the NAI conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in November. She and the other three BLM finalists will compete for the Gold and Silver awards to be given to BLM employees who have made a significant difference in the field of interpretation or environmental education during the past year.

"Tracy is an enthusiastic supporter of environmental education and Native American heritage education," said Steve Larson, BLM Bakersfield's Assistant Field Manager for Resources. "She actively collaborates with schools and Native Americans to develop programs that fit the schools' curricula. Tracy’s actions serve to instill an appreciation for and understanding of the public’s natural and cultural resources. Her outgoing personality, good sense of humor, and dedication to public service make her a great asset to the BLM, not only at the Gorge but throughout California."

Under her leadership, the San Joaquin River Gorge has become a Hands on the Land site (www.handsontheland.org), and a part of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program. She guides a legion of volunteers in putting on dynamic programs for school children.

A key component of Tracy’s work is to partner with Native Americans to relate the cultural and historical significance of the Gorge. There is a small Native American village constructed in the area to give visitors a better appreciation of these early peoples.

Rowland is working with a broad array of partners to complete the San Joaquin River Tail - providing a continuous passage from Friant Dam to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail near Devils Postpile National Monument. Last year, she worked on an innovative partnership to develop the California version of the "Get Energized" interactive CD-ROM, which enables visitors to learn about energy development, environmental protection, energy conservation, energy and public lands, and the global energy picture.

"This recognition is well deserved and long overdue," Larson said. " Tracy is the kind of employee that makes us all proud to work for the BLM."

The photos below show school children engaged in some of the learning programs at San Joaquin River Gorge:

A group of students listen to local Native American, Keith Turner...
A group of students listen to local Native American, Keith Turner

...learn how to process acorns...
Native American woman guides a student learning to process acorns

...and grind the acorns...
a student grinds acorns with a rock

...while other students work with a soaproot brush made by a local Mono Native American...
boys work with a soaproot brush made by a local Mono Native American

Below: students study aquatic plants:
Students view aquatic plants through microscopes

- DChristy, SLarsen

BLM California News.bytes, issue 251