Thursday, June 17, 2010

Robert Culp Recognized with Sustainable Livelihood Award

Robert Culp, lecturer in chemistry and environmental science and director of the Nature Center at Ohio University Southern Campus, has been recognized by Rural Action for his innovative collaboration with area schools to help educate children about environmental issues. The non-profit organization presented Culp with the Sustainable Livelihood Award at the group's annual meeting on June 5.

Culp is dedicated to the environmental sciences in and around Lawrence County, Ohio. He worked for 25 years in the petroleum industry (13 years of international experience) as al scientist and manager of crude oil movements with Ashland Oil Inc. and has spent 14 years working in an academic environment. A veteran of supervising oil spill cleanups and conducting research in the field of biological degradation of oil, Culp is an advocate of environmental awareness. Culp's knowledge, experience and passion all contribute to his being able to capture the interest of young students.

The Huntington WV Herald-Dispatch recognized Culp with the Zack Binkley Award for Community Service in 2002 for his work in creating the Science Wizard program.

Much of the magic Culp conjures up takes place at the Nature Center, a partnership between the Southern Campus and the U.S. Forest Service's Wayne National Forest. The Center is located in a natural wooded setting at the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area within the Wayne National Forest--about seven miles from the Southern Campus. The site includes a classroom/laboratory/exhibit area, an office/computer lab and close proximity to hardwood forest, lakes, streams, meadows native wildlife and miles of trails ...ideal amenities for learning about nature and the environment.

By providing instruction for learning in an outdoor setting, the Nature Center benefits college students, pre-service and in-service teachers, area K-12 students, as well as community organizations and the general public. Pre-service teachers gain valuable, hands-on experience in developing and directing outdoor education activities. Teacher enhancement workshops offer area K-12 teachers new curriculum ideas and approaches in using outdoor resources to make learning meaningful and fun.

The Nature Center is the destination for field trips by various classes and grade levels for many Tri-State (Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky) area schools. All-day programs have been successfully presented for as few as 10 students to as many as 200 students.

And for students who can't come to the Nature Center, the Center goes to them. OUS Natural Wonders Outreach Programs takes staff volunteers to area schools, libraries, home-school gatherings, and scouting groups to present programs which spark K-12 students’ interest in science and mathematics. These programs include: The OUS Science Wizard, The Reptile Experience, The Rock Hounds, and The Wonderful World of Spiders.

According to the Nature Center Web site, outreach programs have touched the lives of over 10,000 students in the Tri-State area (within 100-mile radius of Ohio University Southern) in recent years.

The Sustainable Livelihood Award Culp will receive is one of four sustainability awards to be awarded by Rural Action this year. Others include the LIfetime Achievement Award, Patricia West-Volland and the late Robert Volland; the Sustainable Partnership Award, Stuart's Opera House; and the Sustainable Business Award, Moore's Shoe Repair.

Based in Trimble, Ohio, Rural Action is a nonprofit organization that, along with state and local partners, carries out sustainable development initiatives to help revitalize Appalachian Ohio. It focuses its efforts on responsible recycling, green energy, watershed restoration, growing local food systems, and forestry and environmental education. Groups under its direction include the Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership, the Sunday Creek Watershed Group, the Monday Creek Restoration Project, the Chesterhill Produce Action, the Ohio arm of the Appalachian Carbon Partnership, and the Web site ohiofoodshed.org.