March 23, 2014

Statewide forestry association honors DEC Teacher Ed Program

The New York Society of American Foresters recently awarded its 2013 Community Service Award to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s New York Project Learning Tree steering committee, the DEC has announced.

DEC environmental educators Tom Shimall and Betsy Ukeritis, who both serve as NYPLT co-chairs, accepted the award in recognition of the steering committee’s forestry and environmental-related services and contributions provided to the community.

“For nearly 30 years, Project Learning Tree has provided educators with free workshops and curriculum for teaching environmental concepts at varying grade levels,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release. “Nurturing an understanding and love of the environment in young people provides a blueprint for the next generation of environmental stewards.”

“We are pleased to receive this award,” said Paul Adams, NYPLT steering committee chairperson. “The partnership with DEC, under the leadership of environmental educators Tom Shimalla and Betsy Ukeritis, provides New York State educators with a well-tested program that engages students in active learning through fun, hands-on activities tied to classroom studies.”

Since 1985, Project Learning Tree facilitators have trained more than 16,000 teachers across the state. The program is sponsored in New York by DEC and the Empire State Forestry Foundation.


For more information please visit DEC's website at:, call 518-402-8043, email or write to DEC Bureau of Environmental Education, 4th Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4500.

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