Ottawa Conservation District Recognized by Michigan Envirothon and MACD

Monday, November 10, 2014
The Michigan Envirothon and the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) named Ottawa Conservation District (CD) the 2014 Envirothon District of the Year on Tuesday, October 28th. The award honors the Ottawa CD, its staff, and Board Members for their outstanding support, dedication and leadership in natural resource conservation education for Michigan's high school students and was presented during the MACD Annual Convention held in Bellaire, MI.
 
The Michigan Envirothon District of the Year is named annually to recognize the outstanding contributions of a Conservation District to Environmental education in Michigan. Michigan Envirothon is an environmental science based education program for high school students, presented in a team-based competition format.  Designed to foster critical thinking, wise stewardship and community involvement, the program presents environmental education in a unique and motivating way emphasizing hands-on learning in the outdoors and interaction with natural resource professionals, like the Ottawa CD staff.  
 
"Michigan Envirothon is pleased to honor the Ottawa Conservation District with the 2014 District of the Year Award," said Angela Sandusky, Michigan Envirothon Coordinator.  "Organizing an Envirothon team can seem like a daunting task, especially for a first time team advisor, or District...Becky Huttenga and her District really stepped up and helped our first time school and advisor, from Hudsonville have a great experience.  Initially Hudsonville was not sure they would have 5 committed students, but as they studied, worked on their community outreach projects and interacted with the Ottawa CD their numbers grew, and they brought two teams and a full supply of 'alternates' to the regional competition."   
 
Michigan Envirothon credits the entire staff and CD board members for offering their support to the program, allowing multiple school visits, and providing study materials for the students.  Specifically we would like to recognize Becky Huttenga, Executive Director Ottawa CD, for answering the challenge, organizing her team, and working with the students and also Heather Bartholomew, NRCS District Conservationist, and Kelly Goward, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council who also met with the students.   
 
"When I received the call from Angie that a teacher in my area was interested in Envirothon, but feeling a little out of her element on some of the subject matter, we were happy to step in," said Huttenga.  "Education, especially of our youth is a priority for our District.  Well informed, engaged adults do not just happen, if we really want to further the mission of Districts, we have to start with our kids...it is also a great way to expose teenagers to career paths they might not have known about, and it is fun!"   
 
Congratulations Ottawa Conservation District, thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Michigan Envirothon!


Left to Right: Angela Sandusky, MI Envirothon Coordinator, MACD. Erik Johnson, Regional Coordinator MDARD, 2014 Envirothon Volunteer of the Year, Becky Huttenga, Executive Director, Ottawa County CD, 2014 Envirothon District of the Year  Art Pelon, MACD President.