Recipient of Seth B. Atwood Award announced

Recipient of Seth B. Atwood Award announced


The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, the Rockford Park District and the Rockford Park District Foundation announce that the 2002 Atwood Award was presented to both a local individual and an organization that have positively impacted conservation and recreation in the Winnebago County area.

The 2002 winner in the individual category is Dave Kostka. The winner in the organizational category is Boylan Catholic High School’s Green Club, and its faculty advisor, Larry McPheron.

The announcement and presentation of the Seth B. Atwood Memorial Park and Conservation Award was held Friday, May 3 at the YMCA Log Lodge with a reception immediately following.

The award is given annually to recognize an individual or organization for exceptional contributions in providing facilities, programs or services in the areas of parks, recreation and conservation. It is given jointly by the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Park District Foundation and the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.

Dave Kostka was selected for the award because of his tireless dedication as an individual who has served in many diverse roles teaching and supporting environmental education.

Kostka has been the director of the Regional Environmental Education Center at the Pecatonica Forest Preserve for the past 15 years. During the past 10 years, he has also taught environment-related classes for children and adults through the Community Education Program of Rock Valley College.

Kostka has held many volunteer positions supporting environmental education and advocacy. He serves as the Northwest Regional Representative for the Environmental Education Association of Illinois. Besides teaching, he has coordinated a reuse/recycle resource program for area schools. He has been very instrumental in the formation of the Sugar/Pecatonica Rivers Ecosystem Partnership, and is an active participant in the Environmental Education Coalition.

Through his teaching and leadership, Kostka has touched thousands of lives in the community with his message of respect for and understanding of the environment. He has shaped the face of environmental movement in this community and has inspired us to protect the planet.

Boylan Catholic High School’s Green Club, directed by Larry McPheron, has a long-standing commitment to improving and monitoring the quality of our local ecosystems, particularly the Rock River and Kent Creek. They also monitor local woodlands, wetlands and prairies.

The club has been involved with the League of Women Voters monitoring groundwater and helping with the annual Ground Water Festival for grade school students. The club held a news conference for former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit, instructing him on the River Project Curriculum in 1995. The club has actively participated in cleanups of the Rock River and Kent Creek. Recently, the club has taken an active role in the Kent Creek Watershed Study.

For the past 10 years, the students and their advisor have spent countless hours monitoring streams and forests as part of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources “River Watch” and Conservation 2000 programs.

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