Liz McDowell, winner of the 2018 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award

April 12, 2018
2018 Johnson Award winner Liz McDowell

FROSTBURG, MD (April 6, 2018) – The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)-Appalachian Laboratory is pleased to announce Liz McDowell as the 2018 recipient of the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award. 

McDowell has served as a naturalist and resource biologist for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, environmental specialist for the Maryland Department of the Environment, and science teacher at Northern Garrett High School.  Additionally, she has written many articles and offered numerous classes, field trips, and public programs on a variety of environmental topics, including her passion: native plants. She has generously given her time and expertise to local environmental groups and events including the Maryland Native Plant Society, Friends of New Germany State Park, Mountain Laurel Garden Club, Northern Garrett Envirothon Team, and the Mountain Maryland Native Plant Festival, which she founded in 2014. 

“Liz has always been our go-to person on environmental education and we rely on her expertise in this field, her enthusiasm for sharing information, and know that she is most deserving of this award,” said nominator Linda Harris, Conservation Committee Chair of the Mountain Laurel Garden Club.

Appalachian Laboratory Director, Dr. Eric Davidson, echoes these sentiments. “In the spirit of Richard Johnson’s dedication to and knowledge of our rich natural heritage in Western Maryland, Liz helps us all, kids and adults, see the value of the world around us.”

The Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award honors the memory of Richard Johnson, a well-known local orthopedic surgeon and 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 recognition of those 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 AES Warrior Run, Alliance Resource Partners (Mettiki Coal), First Energy, Verso Corporation, and numerous other donors over the past decade. Generous sponsors of this year's program include AES Warrior Run,  Alliance Resource Partners (Mettiki Coal), Allegany College of Maryland, Beechwood Coal, Ritchie Trucking and Excavating, and numerous friends.

For more information about the Johnson Award or the UMCES Appalachian Laboratory, contact Rhonda Schwinabart, Coordinator of External Affairs, at 301-689-7102 or