Appalachian Laboratory honors environmental champion and Evergreen Founder Janice Keene

April 17, 2015
Janice Keene, president of the Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation, accepts the 2015 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award as Appalachian Laboratory Director Eric Davidson looks on.

In honor of outstanding contributions to environmental management in Western Maryland, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory has selected Janice Keene, president of the Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation, as recipient of its 2015 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award. Since 2008, Ms. Keene has led the Evergreen Heritage Center in Frostburg, a public charity dedicated to providing experiential learning opportunities for children and adults while teaching them to be good stewards of the environment.

"It is a pleasure to honor Janice Keene with the Richard Johnson Award,” said Eric Davidson, director of the Appalachian Laboratory. “Through the Evergreen Heritage Center, she has been able to take a unique approach to helping young people learn about their heritage and their environment so they can be productive citizens in a sustainable world.”

Evergreen Heritage Center provides multiple programs for the community and was named a 2014 Chesapeake Forest Champion for its work in engaging the public in sustainable forestry. It received a 2015 Maryland Sustainable Growth Award for its work in environmental conservation and preservation. Environmental education programs include field classes for students in pre-school through grade 12, experiential learning for college students, and professional development for educators. Evergreen also offers a program to teach children about healthy eating, outdoor arts opportunities, and community workshops on best practices in environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, and forestry. 

As President of Evergreen, Keene has partnered with numerous organizations in the region to make programs possible, including Allegany County Public Schools, Allegany College of Maryland, Frostburg State University, the University of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay  Foundation,  and the Maryland Departments of Agriculture, the Environment, and Natural Resources. Evergreen and it partners have also collaborated to develop additional facilities that provide learning opportunities, including the Heritage Hoop House (greenhouse), the Heritage Sawmill and Wood Shop, the Energy Learning Station, and multiple environmental learning stations.

Keene has over 30 years of experience in management, business development, and marketing.  She founded and managed her own consulting company in 2003, serving as business advisor to both government and commercial organizations.

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland with a B.S. degree in Mathematics and Physics. She completed Executive Education Program courses at Wharton Graduate School of Business, and in 2013 was recognized by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

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 $2,000 to support further environmental education activities. The endowment supporting the award was made possible through the generous support of Allegheny Power, NewPage Corporation, Alliance Resource Partners (Mettiki Coal), and numerous other donors over the past decade. Generous sponsors of this year's program include AES Warrior Run, Beechwood Coal, Ritchie Trucking and Excavating, Verso-Luke Mill, and numerous friends.

Recent recipients of the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award include Dr. Dana McCauley and Crellin Elementary School (2012), and the Forestry Department of Allegany College (2013), and Tom Mathews (2014).

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.