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Teacher Receives EPA’s Educators Environmental Excellence Award

Release Date: 05/21/2007
Contact Information: Denise Morrison, (913) 551-7402,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., May 21, 2007) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Educators Environmental Excellence Award recipient from Iowa for the 2006-2007 school year is William J. Desmarais, Washington High School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

EPA Region 7 administrator John B. Askew said, “I am very pleased to honor Mr. Desmarais with this award. He is a leader in the field of environmental education.”

Desmarais is being recognized by EPA for his pioneering spirit in implementing Iowa’s first advanced placement environmental science class and the country’s only high school Doppler radar system. He has been a life and earth science teacher at Washington High School since 1974. His teaching career began in 1971 in Clear Lake, Iowa.

He is a longtime member of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the Iowa Academy of Science and the National Science Teachers Association. He has won the Aldo Leopold Award for lifetime achievement in Environmental Education Excellence and Leadership, Conservation Education Teacher of the Year, Environmental Education Teacher of the Year, Iowa Soil Conservation Education Teacher of the Year, and two Governor Branstad’s State of Iowa volunteer awards for conservation work in Iowa.

He has published articles on weather forecasting and wildlife photography and an article on correlation of native vegetation and soil types.

Desmarais has served as an adviser to the Iowa Naturalists, an outdoor conservation group at Washington High School. The Iowa Naturalists Club was named Conservation Organization of the Year for Iowa in 1993.

He started a speaker series that brought nationally and internationally renowned scientists to Washington High School and the community to speak on environmental issues. He created a consortium consisting of the Linn County Environmental Council, local school districts and local colleges to carry out this speaker series.

Other recipients from EPA Region 7 are Carla Otredosky and Jamie Oltman, The Groundwater Foundation, Lincoln, Neb.

The annual Educators Environmental Excellence Award Program is sponsored by EPA Region 7 to recognize outstanding environmental educators in the region. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 31. Award applications can be obtained by contacting:

Office of External Programs
U.S. EPA Region 7
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Telephone: (913) 551-7003
Toll-free Environmental Action Line: (800) 223-0425
Electronically through the Region 7 Web site

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