On the cusp of retiring from my position as communications co-chair of the Environmental Educators of North Carolina, I received a wonderful surprise last week. I was selected to receive the organization's Melva Fagre Okun Lifetime Achievement Award. It's not given every year, so it meant even more that I was selected to be the recipient. 

What is a bit ironic is that the entire time I have been on the board, I have been a Virginia resident. My main responsibility has been keeping the website updated (had help with that) and publish a quarterly newsletter (also had help with that).

What kept me returning to North Carolina, were the wonderful people who shaped my career in environmental education. Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I had some soul sucking jobs, like shopping mall marketing.  I had a few good gigs as well, including an early morning at the announcements of the academy awards, and then a night in one of the press rooms. Also worked a few celebrity bike races, polo matches and was at the front end of promoting Wolfgang Puck's frozen pizzas. 

When I got to North Carolina (after a few years in San Diego), my expectations weren't extremely high that I would like my new home. Turns out that I loved it and that it really put me on a path to use my writing skills in a whole new way.

I owe a huge thanks to my sister, Kitty Burke, who persuaded me to complete the certification in environmental education since, as she put it, helping mom wasn't a profession and my small children would eventually grow up and move on. Turns out that this is the last year of full-time, in-home parenting, so it has definitely crept up on me. 

I am thankful to Laura White  and Jackie Trickel for the Nature Nymph program at Hemlock Bluffs in Cary, which turned out to be the preschool program that Dylan participated in when we moved to Raleigh. 

I am thankful to all the EENC board members, past and present, who have been so kind and helpful over the past 6 years. My newsletters were so much better for the careful reading provided by Mir Youngquist-Thurow and Lois Nixon. I am also thankful to Matt Besch of In Your Head Advertising, for his beautiful layouts and patience with fluid deadlines. 

I am touched by the efforts of the entire board to continue on the path of advocating for environmental education and for allowing me to be part of their organization.

I am also grateful to Chip Freund for his experience in computer science and his willingness to take on the communications portion of the board. I know that it will be so much better with a real computer guy at the helm. 

I am also thankful to an assortment of clients who have helped me connect with some paying projects (re: helping mom is not a profession). Jeanne Troy, Anna Wadhams,  Julia Washburn, Dan Meharg, Jeanette Parker, and many others who trusted me with their projects. A special thanks to Ann Silberlicht for her beautiful design work which always makes my words seem more readable.



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