2019 AUNE Environmental Excellence Awards

The 2019 Environmental Excellence Awards were presented during the finishing ceremony for graduating students at Antioch University New England on May 3, 2019. The Alumni Award and the Community Award are given annually by Antioch’s Environmental Studies Department to an alumna or alumnus and to a community member who have made outstanding contributions to the sustainability of the environment through professional or personal action.

Jennifer Kretser, a graduate from the Environmental Studies master’s program in 1998, was the recipient of the Alumni Award. Kretser holds youth summits on climate change at the Wild Center, a living Natural History Center in her native Adirondack, NY, and around the world, including Finland, Sri Lanka, and Germany. She is the Director of Climate Initiatives at the Center leading the Center’s youth Climate Program which has been recognized by the White House, the EPA both regional and nationally, and NY State for this work which includes taking part in the United Nations Climate Change Conferences and being a leader in the Climate Reality Project.

“I feel like I use my education from Antioch every day in the work that I do to empower young people on climate change,” said Krester in her acceptance video, which can be viewed here and below.

Sy Montgomery, a naturalist, author, and scriptwriter, was the recipient of the Community Award. She has authored 28 books for children and adults, including The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, which was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was on the New York Times Best Seller list. Her most popular book is The Good Good Pig, the bestselling memoir of life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood. Her other notable books include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger, and Search for the Golden Moon Bear. The New York Times describes Sy as “equal parts poet and scientist,” and The Boston Globe describes her as “part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.”

“I want to thank you for all that you do for the environment, for each other, for a very special community of all the friends that I have made thanks to Antioch University New England,” said Montgomery in her full acceptance video, which can be viewed here and below.

The Environmental Excellence Awards spotlight individuals who exemplify vision, pragmatism, and interdisciplinarity in advancing environmental justice and sustainability. They are based on nominations from department members and determined by a selection committee of faculty and staff, which was chaired this year by Dr. Rachel K. Thiet, Director of Antioch’s Conservation Biology ES master’s of science concentration. The awards highlight the Department of Environmental Studies’ mission to educate visionary, pragmatic leaders in a collaborative interdisciplinary setting that is founded on academic excellence and the principles of environmental justice and sustainability.