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SourDough News | December 19, 2012

 

Nicholas Racine, Interpretive Services Specialist at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center.
Nicholas Racine, Interpretive Services Specialist at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center is this year’s recipient of the “D. Robert Hakala Excellence in Interpretation and Conservation Education” award.

Interpreter Saralynn Fenwick displays a sea otter pelt.
Interpreter Saralynn Fenwick displays a sea otter pelt in her program for visitors to the Chugach National Forest.

 The staff at Begich, Boggs Visitor Center (BBVC) is celebrating the success of two of its own who received the Alaska Region’s highest honors in Interpretation and Conservation Education for 2012.  Nicholas Racine, Interpretive Services Specialist at the center was named the recipient of the “D. Robert Hakala Excellence in Interpretation and Conservation Education” award, also called the “Interpreter/Conservation Educator of the Year” award. Saralynn Fenwick, Visitor Services Information Assistant, received the “Seasonal Interpreter/Conservation Educator of the Year” award.

Nick Racine is recognized as a highly skilled interpreter, educator, facility manager and team leader.  He isthe primary assistant to the director at Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. In addition he helps to provide direction for the forest-wide visitor services program on the Chugach National Forest. This work includes guiding the interpretive staff, managing five complex interpretive partnerships and providing assistance as needed for the staff at the Crooked Creek Information Site in Valdez, as well as the Mobile Interpretive Team on the Kenai Peninsula. Nick is also a gifted educator who has taken an innovative approach with the District’s conservation education program, updating BBVC’s Forest Ranger Academy curricula and creating a new program for the Anchorage School District fifth-graders called Wildlife Rangers. In 2010, he initiated a ground-breaking curriculum that helped children to understand the science behind climate change and chronicled the changes to the glaciers of Portage Valley. That same year he also helped to organize and carry out a successful climate change workshop via webinar for the National Association for Interpretation’s Region 10. And in 2011 Nicktook on a major role as a part of the Forest-wide team to organize the first-ever BioBlitz in Portage Valley.

Nick received a $500 cash award and $2,000 toward attending the National Association for Interpretation workshop in Hampton, Virginia in November.

Saralynn Fenwick, who has worked for four seasons at Begich, Boggs, has been described as a consummate interpreter who has mastered the art of thematic interpretation. Because of her high skill level, in addition to presenting programs at the visitor center, she has been assigned to all of the BBVC partnerships where she serves thousands of visitors each year.  She works aboard four marine vessels and one lake vessel. She also guides hikers from the Alaska Railroad to Spencer Lake. Saralynn is skilled in scientific research, and generously shares her knowledge with other staff members.

Saralynn will receive $150 from Alaska Geographic and a certificate signed by Regional Forester Beth Pendleton and Alaska Geographic Interim Director Lisa Oakley.

 

By Lezlie Murray, Director, Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, and Kristi Kantola, Regional Interpretive/Conservation Education Specialist