Stanton McCreary, Sebastian Church, Samantha Ruiz, Will Chorvat, Chris Castro, Hank Harding, and Jessica Whalen accept the 2011 Conservation Organization of The Year Award from FWF President Manley Fuller and Master of Ceremonies Jim Schuette (FWF Chair Board of Directors) during the Florida Wildlife Foundation 74th Annual Conservation Awards Banquet at the Chateau Elan Hotel & Conference Center, Sebring, Florida, June 11, 2011.
The coverage spread throughout UCF, making the home page for UCF.edu, UCF Today and the UCF News & Information.
INTELLECTUAL DECISIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS SOLUTIONS
NAMED CONSERVATIONIST ORGANIZATION
OF THE YEAR FOR 2011
BY FLORIDA WILDLIFE FEDERATION
Press Release by Diana Hines, Vice President of Administration
At the Florida Wildlife Federation’s 74th Annual Conservation Awards Banquet, held June 11, 2011, at the Chateau Elan Hotel and Conference Centerin Sebring, noteworthy Florida conservationists were recognized for their achievements. The Federation was pleased to name I.D.E.A.S. at the University of Central Floridaas the Conservation Organization of the Year for 2011.
In 2008 Environmental Science students Henry Harding and Chris Castro established an organization to inspire environmental awareness not only on campus, but in the larger community. This group, Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions (IDEAS), has grown rapidly since its inception and has brought together the educational training of students and their passion for putting their thoughts into action. The current leaders are Samantha Ruiz and Sebastian Church, with Henry Harding and Chris Castro continuing their involvement since their graduation in December 2010.
IDEAS uses social networking sites such as Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/IDEASforUs) and Twitter (@IDEAS4Us) to connect with other students and interested parties to invite them to activities and to get people involved in conservation measures. The IDEAS program has expanded to ten other campuses inFlorida and other states.
IDEAS strives to feature social enjoyment in their environmental stewardship activities, which have included “Off the Grid” activities and events such as a Clean Energy Bike Rally, K-12 Environmental Outreach in schools and Environmental Awareness through Car Chalk. They have demonstration projects such as using bike pedals as generators for sewing machines to make T-totes (tee shirts transformed into tote bags). Other activities include research and experimentation on advanced fuels, energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.
The dedicated student members of IDEAS have inspired hundreds of other UCF students to join them in activities ranging from invasive plant removal, pond restoration and ecosystem clean up to the restoration of lakes, roads, islands and beach areas.
IDEAS partnered with “Hands Across the Sand” in 2010 to raise awareness about the disastrous effects of off-shore oil drilling. The group received the “Green Leaf Award for Environmental Excellence” fromOrangeCountyand a grant to attend the Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference. In the spring of 2011, IDEAS/UCF sent 40 representatives to “PowerShift,” a national conference attended by thousands of students inWashington,DC, dedicated to finding new sources of energy forAmerica.
As the conservation movement moves into the 21st Century, the Florida Wildlife Federation is grateful that youth and student organizations such as IDEAS at UCF are stepping up to help in such meaningful ways, spreading the message and engaging young people to become active conservationists.
The Federation’s annual selection of outstanding conservationists is one of the oldest in the state. Conservation award winners are selected from nominations made to the Federation’s board of directors and are chosen for their dedicated efforts on behalf ofFlorida’s fish, wildlife and their native habitats.
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Congratulations to all Florida chapters for an excellent year of environmental stewardship and proactive change!Please Credit Photo By: © Timm Duckworth 2011 Permission granted to Florida Wildlife Foundation.