Licia Kuckkahn Johnson - Naturalist and Education Director at the North Lakeland Discovery Center - was recently awarded Non-Formal Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education (WAEE).
The WAEE is a statewide organization for professional environmental educators. The award is presented to an educator who displays innovative and exemplary efforts in providing education opportunities for audiences of all ages.
After growing up in Woodruff, Johnson returned to the Northwoods from the Pacific Northwest in 2007, where she has been a part of the North Lakeland Discovery Center ever since.
Johnson said the resources at the North Lakeland Discovery Center allow it to be an integral source for environmental education in the Northwoods.
"This is such a great place for environmental education because of the lake that's there. There's a bog on site, which is really unique, and it also has a great mixed forest," says Johnson. "It's an environmental educator's dream."
Johnson believes that her role is to inspire people to explore the natural world and give individuals the tools to continue their education after they leave the Discovery Center.
"I like to have people connect to something and realize why it's important to them," says Johnson. "If they don't realize what a certain thing can do for them or how it affects them, a lot of times people don't have that connection."
Receiving the award for Non-Formal Educator of the Year is a big honor for Johnson, as she has served on the WAEE Board and understands the level of competition she was up against.
"It's definitely been a highlight of my career," says Johnson. "It's a great organization and some fabulous people have won it in the past. I'm excited to be a part of that legacy."
Johnson said the North Lakeland Discovery Center has a full lineup of educational programming and recreational opportunities planned for the summer. She is excited to continue to have the chance to serve those in the Northwoods whose curiosities are peaked by the wonders of the natural world.
For more information on the North Lakeland Discovery center, you can visit www.discoverycenter.net.