COSEE GL "Superstar" named Environmental Citizen of the Year

December 13, 2007

There are "Superstars" in sports and entertainment and COSEE GL has its share of educator "Superstars" that have dedicated time and effort to help us reach our goals. Lauren Makeyenko is one of those "Superstars" and she has been named the 2007 Paul MacClennan Environmental Citizen of the Year. The award, named after the former Buffalo News environmental reporter, is bestowed by the Erie County Environmental Education Institute to a person for their dedication to environmental quality and environmental education.

Lauren is an environmental educator for NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, where she educates students, teachers, and the public about environmental issues. Before joining NYSDEC, Lauren worked for the Center for Great Lakes Environmental Education and Tifft Nature Preserve (Buffalo Museum of Science) where she served as a coordinator of the biennial Great Lakes Student Summit. Lauren was also one of the founding members of Western New York Earth Day, a coalition of environmental, academic and government groups an annual Earth Day Exposition.

With COSEE GL, Lauren created the blog for the Lake Erie workshop aboard the USEPA Lake Guardian during 2006. She also worked with fellow COSEE GL Superstar Lyndsey Manzo to conduct a COSEE GL workshop at the 2007 National Marine Educators Association Conference. Lauren has helped coordinate a COSEE GL sponsored teachers’ workshop and arranged Great Lakes related field trips with Buffalo City Schools that visited Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve where she works. These hands-on experiences introduced inner-city students to plants and animals living in the Great Lakes watershed.

Working with NY Sea Grant educator Helen Domske, Lauren also co-teaches a Great Lakes ecology course at the University at Buffalo. The course involves students in environmental community service, providing them exposure to Great Lakes agencies and issues. According to Domske, "Lauren Makeyenko is an excellent educator who is dedicated to Great Lakes environmental issues. Lauren is an inspiration to students and she is most deserving of this recognition. We at COSEE Great Lakes are fortunate to have such a talented educator as our partner."