Western Maryland principal honored with environmental stewardship award

April 25, 2012

In honor of outstanding contributions to environmental education in Western Maryland, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory selected Dr. Dana McCauley as recipient of its 2012 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award.

As Principal of Crellin Elementary School in Oakland, Maryland, Dr. McCauley leads and coordinates an instructional program that guides students to achieve and sustain academic success, including greater awareness of their impact on the environment.

“Dr. McCauley has set a new high water mark when it comes to engaging others about the need to conserve and protect our natural resources,” said Dr. Robert Gardner, Director of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg. “She has led the creation of unique opportunities for her students to learn about the environment, from a Community Corps of Discovery to an outdoors education laboratory.”

Dr. McCauley led the community in building a history-themed school playground while also coordinating a stream restoration project. She also organized the Crellin Community Corps of Discovery, a group of school staff, students, community members, and representatives of local agencies and organizations that seeks to engage students in meaningful learning opportunities.

Its efforts have resulted in the creation of the Crellin Environmental Education Laboratory, a five-and-a-half acre outdoor classroom. For this effort, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the school with the President’s Environmental Youth Award in 2006. In addition, the Maryland Association of Environmental Outdoor Education named Crellin Elementary a Maryland Green School in 2005 and 2009.

In 2009, Dr. McCauley was named a National Distinguished Principal. She holds a B.S, and a M.Ed. from Frostburg State University and an Ed.D. from West Virginia University.

The 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 Appalachian Laboratory honors his memory through its promotion of environmental education in Western Maryland and the people who excel in its practice. 

The Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award provides $1,500 to support further environmental education activities.

The endowment supporting the award was made possible through the generous support of Allegheny Power, NewPage Corporation, Mettiki Coal, LLC, and numerous other donors over the past decade. Generous sponsors of this year's program include Wells Fargo Advisors, AES Warrior Run, Frostburg State University Foundation, Susquehanna Bank, and First United Bank & Trust.

Founded in 1961, the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, Maryland is one of five research centers that make up the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The lab focuses its research on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, how they function in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and how human activity may influence their health and sustainability on local, regional and global scales.