Award Nominations

Each year the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) recognizes and honors individuals, organizations, and schools from around the state of Colorado for their innovation and dedication to moving the field of environmental education forward.

Nominations are reviewed and selected by CAEE’s Award Selection Committee and approved by CAEE’s Board of Directors. Award recognition typically takes place at the annual awards celebration event, which will be held this year in the Denver-metro area in November. 

Environmental education is a lifelong process that helps people learn more about the natural systems we all depend on, and understand what we must do to interact responsibly with our environment and safeguard natural resources for future generations. We embrace the many related educational efforts that contribute to environmental and outdoor learning including: interpretation, nature-based learning, STEM, science education, sustainability education, outdoor education, place-based learning, stewardship, agriculture education, water education and many, many more that make up the extensive circuitry of programs, initiatives, and supports to energize our collective mission. These efforts work best when they happen across the lifespan in many different places and spaces, because this lets people build concepts and make connections over time. Some happens in formal learning settings, some happens in outdoor spaces where people encounter nature, and others happen in businesses and boardrooms. Some environmental educators are what we all tend to picture as “teachers” or “naturalists” but they also might be scientists, artists, decision makers and more.

Find more information on environmental education.

Excellence in EE Award Nomination Categories

Click on the award name below for specific criteria, materials required, and submission process for that category.

Enos A. Mills Award for Exemplary Contributions to Environmental Education

This is the highest honor presented by CAEE each year to an individual for long-term, outstanding achievements and contributions to EE. This award is named after Enos Mills, whose passion for environmental protection and education, photographs and writings were largely responsible for the decision by Congress in 1915 to establish Rocky Mountain National Park. Like Enos Mills, the award recipient must demonstrate exemplary vision, character, practice, and impact to the field of EE through a body of work.

Advancing Environmental Literacy Award

Recognizes the outstanding contributions made to environmental literacy in Colorado through business, media, research, philanthropy, collaborative efforts or other innovative initiatives/projects that advance the environmental literacy of Colorado citizens or the field of environmental education. Any organization, businesses, institution, group or coalition is encouraged to submit a nomination.  Self-nominations or peer nominations accepted.

Innovative Environmental Education Program Award (formal and nonformal programs)

Recognizes outstanding and innovative EE programs, projects, curriculum, etc. in both formal and nonformal settings. Successful new programs can apply. Self-nominations or peer nominations accepted.

Outstanding Environmental Educator Award (formal, nonformal, volunteer educators)

Recognizes the exceptional contributions made by an individual to his/her community in environmental education. This recipient is acknowledged as a role model for environmental responsibility and serves as an inspiration for his/her audiences and peers. Self-nominations or peer nominations accepted. 

Outstanding Young Environmental Leader Award

Recognizes the exceptional contributions made by a young person or group of youth to their community in environmental education (ages 14-23). The award recipient(s) must demonstrate outstanding leadership in the creation and implementation of an original program and/or provide exemplary leadership and service to an existing environmental organization or school-based environmental education program. Self-nomination or peer/supervisor nominations accepted. 

Outstanding Retiring Environmental Educator Award

Recognizes an outstanding environmental educator (i.e., at any grade level, formal or non-formal) that has worked at least five years in EE, plans to retire within one year or be three years or less beyond retirement, and has made a significant contribution to environmental education during his/her career. Self-nominations or peer nominations accepted.