Colorado Parks and Wildlife
2020 Outstanding Retiring Environmental Educator Recognition Recipient
Jena Sanchez’s entire career has had a tremendous impact on Environmental Education. Jena began her work in the field in 1989 with Virginia State Parks where she led river education programs and participated in the local environmental education council. She went on to earn the Chief Ranger position, where she helped open a new state park before moving to Colorado. Once established in Colorado, she worked for the US Forest Service for 5 years as an Interpretative Specialist, focusing on environmental education, interpretation and management plans.
However, Jena’s biggest impact has been as the SE Region Volunteer Coordinator for Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), a position she fulfilled for over 23 years. While you may not immediately associate her title as Volunteer Coordinator with environmental education, the evidence of her support for EE demonstrates quite the opposite. Over her tenure, she trained several thousand volunteers to perform a variety of tasks & projects with CPW, including: educating the public about bears and how to be bear aware; teaching school programs about wildlife; leading wildflower & birding hikes at State Parks; teaching outdoors skills, such as fishing, to youth; hosting field trips & activities for schools; and more. She has informed numerous others by informing them about Colorado’s wildlife and natural resources. The magnitude of volunteers she has worked with over the years has equated to approximately 30 full time employees per year, contributing millions of dollars to the agency. Many of these volunteers have helped support CPW’s mission by educating thousands more youth and adults than we could have possibly accomplished alone.