Appalachian Laboratory

Sarah Milbourne

2010 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award Recipient

Educator Sarah Milbourne Honored for Raising Environmental Awareness in Western Maryland

Appalachian Laboratory Director Dr. Robert Gardner (left), Maryland State Park Ranger Sarah Milbourne, UMCES President Dr. Donald Boesch

The award, presented Thursday evening by Appalachian Laboratory Director Robert H. Gardner, recognizes local citizens for their outstanding contributions to environmental education and is presented to Milbourne for her tireless efforts to foster environmental stewardship through her work in Maryland State Parks.

“While still early in her career, Sarah has made a significant positive impact on our community, promoting environmental education with learners of all ages,” said Dr. Gardner. “Sarah brings a special ability to develop innovative programs that connect park visitors to the natural world.”

Sarah’s work with the Park Service brought her to western Maryland in 1999, where her career evolved to include positions at Deep Creek Lake State Park Discovery Center, Deep Creek Lake Recreation Area and Rocky Gap State Park. With a strong background in interpretive work, Sarah assumed all duties associated with Rocky Gap’s interpretation program, including the Scales and Tales Aviary, the Nature Center and administration of the Allegany County Outdoor Education program.

During Sarah’s tenure at Rocky Gap, she has reintroduced an outdoor education program that reaches more than 2,000 fifth and sixth grade students and has created a school field trip program that engages more than 2,500 students. She also provides an annual Earth Day celebration for local schools and has just begun an after-school program with four area schools. In addition to her personal projects, Sarah’s seasonal staff provides daily programs to the public, annually reaching more than 25,000 visitors with interpretive programs.

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

The award provides $2,000 to support further environmental education activities, which this year will support the Rocky Gap Volunteer Team. An endowed fund to support the Johnson Award has been established at the University System of Maryland Foundation. Contributors to the fund include AES Western Maryland Management Co. LLC, Allegheny Power, NewPage Corporation, Mettiki Coal Corporation and numerous private citizens and other organizations.

Past recipients of the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award include: former Times-News columnist Ken Hodgdon (1991); Frostburg State University Professor Emeritus Don Emerson (1991); retired teacher Nan Livingston (1992); retired teacher Charles Strauss Sr. (1993); former Appalachian Laboratory Director Kent Fuller (1996); Department of Natural Resources project manager Bernard Zlomek (2001); Hickory Environmental Education Center coordinator Joseph Winters (2002); former Frostburg State University Biology Department Head Melvin Brown (2003); Beall High School Environmental Educator Kenneth Baxter (2004); Allegany High School Ecology Club mentor Alan Hammond (2005); Route 40 Elementary School Principal Patrick Delaney (2006); Garrett College Professor Kevin Dodge (2007); Maryland Park Service’s Jeffrey Ruark (2007); and, George’s Creek Watershed Association founder Robert Miller (2009).