About the Johnson Award
The Environmental Education Award honors the memory of Richard A. Johnson, a well-known orthopedic surgeon in the Allegany County area. He passed away in 1990 leaving a legacy of a caring and dedicated physician, family man, and naturalist. The Laboratory honors his memory through its promotion of environmental education and the people who excel in its practice.
The endowed fund usually provides a $2,000 annual award to recognize local citizens who directly contribute to environmental education. The award, which is meant to aid ongoing environmental education efforts, may be given to individuals or to organizations. The award committe intends for the true beneficiaries to be the students of our community who learn from the activities of the environmental education programs.
2023 Winner: Annie Stark
Annie Stark is a high school science teacher at Allegany High School in Cumberland, MD. Annie grew up in Cumberland, and developed a fascination with nature by watching Outdoors Maryland with her dad, exploring the woods behind her house, and participating in high school Chesapeake Bay field trips and envirothon events with her environmental science teacher, Al Hammond. Annie always knew that she would pursue a career in science and was lucky enough as a teenager and young twenty-something to gain valuable work experiences and mentorship at Rocky Gap State and Deep Creek Lake State parks.
Annie obtained bachelor’s degrees from Frostburg State University in psychology and biology and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching. She has taught for 16 years, instructing students in classes such as honors and general biology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, AP biology, AP environmental science, intro to agriculture and natural resources management, small and large animal science, and plant/soil science and greenhouse operations. She has been a Maryland Special Olympics unified tennis, bocce, and track coach and is currently the Allegany High school envirothon coach, Allegany High School FFA advisor, and a Nationally Board Certified teacher. Annie’s biggest source of inspiration is her students, who are resilient, energetic, and passionate about taking action to make this world a better place.