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JSU Field Schools Receive Two USFS Awards

29 November 2004 The Jacksonville State University Field Schools recently won two United States Forest Service awards: the 2004 Interpretive Program Award for partnership with the Shoal Creek District of the USFS and the 2004 Regional Forester's Award in Excellence in External Technology Transfer.

"Partnerships are integral to our success," says Pete Conroy, director of JSU's EPIC (Environmental Policy and Information Center) and Field Schools. "We continue to work closely with the USFS to develop the Talladega Mountain's Natural Resource Center, which is proposed as a facility for a variety of partners all focused on natural resource protection, management, education and tourism; it will serve as a gateway to our region's forests, parks and trails."

During 2003, approximately 15,000 individuals participated in field school programs covering all aspects of environmental education across northeast Alabama. In 2004, participation and outreach exceeded 29,000 contacts through the expanded educational opportunities offered by JSU Field Schools to northeast and central Alabama.

JSU Field Schools' Hobson City Kids into Nature (KIN) Camp, received special recognition for providing inner-city children the opportunity to learn about environmental education and environmental career opportunities through immersion activities in the Talladega National Forest.

Renee Morrison, coordinator of the Field Schools, said of the success of the Hobson City KIN Camp, "It was beautiful to watch the faces of the campers as they experienced nature for the first time and to see them interact with the forest rangers from their realization that snakes are NOT slimy to the discovery of new career options in environmental education, these children were glowing with new ideas and dreams."

The Hobson City KIN Camp was made possible by partners, including the USFS Shoal Creek District, Calhoun County Commissioner James "Pappy" Dunn, Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Gas Corporation and Mayor Robert Pyles. The 2005 camp has gained the support of Legacy, Inc. and the program will be expanded to include the Constantine, Carver and Randolph Park areas as well.

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