The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named co-leaders of The Groundwater Foundation youth education programs in Lincoln, Neb., Carla Otredosky and Jamie Oltman, and William J. Desmarais of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, winners of the EPA Educators Environmental Excellence Award.
Otredosky and Oltman have led three new youth programs, expanded others and coordinated a successful leadership transition for the Groundwater Foundation.
They are responsible for youth programs H20 on the Go, Awesome Aquifers for Science Olympiad, and the Youth Groundwater Congress. H20 on the Go has served about 2,000 students since its inception in 2004, and this year Otredosky and Oltman have trained youth leaders in water education as part of their regular activities.
Desmarais was recognized by EPA for his pioneering spirit in implementing Iowa’s first advanced placement environmental science class and the country’s only high school Doppler radar system. He has been a life and earth science teacher at Washington High School since 1974. His teaching career began in 1971 in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Desmarais is a longtime member of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the Iowa Academy of Science and the National Science Teachers Association. He has won the Aldo Leopold Award for lifetime achievement in Environmental Education Excellence and Leadership, Conservation Education Teacher of the Year, Environmental Education Teacher of the Year, Iowa Soil Conservation Education Teacher of the Year, and two Governor Branstad’s State of Iowa volunteer awards for conservation work in Iowa.
He has published articles on weather forecasting and wildlife photography and an article on correlation of native vegetation and soil types.
The annual Educators Environmental Excellence Award Program is sponsored by EPA Region 7 to recognize outstanding environmental educators in the region. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 31.