.................. Wilderness Way Awards



Shawn DeNarie and Paul Berensmeier with
Shawn's Steelhead -in-the-Classroom Participation Award

For many years WW has been creating a large body of student environmental
stewards. This year WW decided to create its first Exceptional Student
Award to be awarded only when a student of "Exceptional Merit" appears.  An
environmental steward is a person who has acquired the skills and knowledge
and demonstrated a passion to take care of the environment and sustain its
natural resources for future generations.

Below is the text of the first Exceptional Student Award at 8th grade
graduation of 2008 read by Paul Berensmeier.

"Our recipient of this award has demonstrated he is intimately aware of the
Earth's fragileness.  His passion to protect it is evident.  In Science he
wrote a wonderful treatise on the chemistry of global warming and rain
forest depletion.  In Social Studies his topic was the Navy's sonic "boom"
testing and its effects on marine animals.  He was also in John's pet care
elective, is a pet owner, and has a love and respect for animals.  Listen to
this paragraph he wrote in a paper titled The Presidential Election of the
Year 2008.

"The thing that bugs me most about people not looking at the Earth through a
global and environmental perspective is that finding solutions to all of the
problems our planet presently faces is so easy.  With current technology and
certainly with less finances than are required for fighting aimless wars and
buying appalling amounts of oil from foreign "fat cats," unimaginable amount
of scientific research could probably be performed.  Eventually, all of this
research could convert the United States from an economically and
environmentally collapsing nation into an entirely clean, advanced, and
possibly very wealthy country that would be able to rest on the back of
renewable energy resources rather than the limited and environmentally
damaging assets provided from our over-expenditure to other countries."

"When you have cut down all the trees
and killed off all of the buffalo
and taken the last fish from the river,
then I hope you can eat all your money." 
(Mohawk woman to Teddy Roosevelt)

This special student is deserving of the first Wilderness Way Exceptional
Student Award which is only given when an unusual environmental steward
appears.  This student has participated in every activity that Wilderness
Way (WW) has offered.  He drew our attention early on by his obsession with
dinosaurs and constant surprises, like pulling a lizard out of his sleeve. 
What a pleasure it's been getting to know him better by working and playing
with him in every elective WW has offered.  Those memorable moments have
continued right up to this day.  WW is honoring this person who undoubtedly
is a future Environmental Steward for the Valley and the world at large. 
Paul and Tina Berensmeier are looking forward to participating with this
recipient on a WW nature day, from "Dawn to Dusk."

I am both proud and honored to present this award to Shawn DeNarie."

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The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson