Please join us in congratulating ACR Director of Education Gwen Heistand on being chosen as the recipient of the 2017 Terwilliger Environmental Award. Named for nationally renowned naturalist and educator, Elizabeth Terwilliger (known affectionately as Mrs. T), the award annually honors an educator who 

  • Is actively involved in teaching the public to appreciate and protect the natural environment 
  • Has made a significant difference and a real impact on the Bay Area 
  • Inspires children and adults to love nature by making the study of nature interesting, fun and exciting 
  • Demonstrates a commitment to responsible action for the environment and a sustainable world 
  • Shows consistent interest and determination in both the length and variety of his/her environmental activities 
  • Leads with new insights and methods for environmental education.
An addition to her role as Director of Education, Gwen has served as the Preserve Biologist at Martin Griffin Preserve since joining ACR in 2002.
"We have been so fortunate to have Gwen at the helm of ACR’s education programs. Her vision, creativity, innovation, and leadership have proved inspirational for our hundreds of volunteers and others who have experienced her knowledge and passion for learning over the past 15 years," said  John Petersen, ACR executive director. "I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Gwen."
Gwen holds a master's degree in environmental science & management/applied ecology from UC Santa Barbara. Her graduate work focused on assessing cumulative impacts of land use on coastal wetland watersheds. Gwen has taught field and lab classes for both UC Santa Barbara and the College of Marin in limnology, invertebrate zoology, parasitology, mammalogy, introductory biology and marine biology. She was curator for the invertebrate collection at UCSB's Museum of Ecology and Systematics. Gwen teaches classes to volunteers in all aspects of natural history and works with the ACR science staff on research and resource management programs specific to the Martin Griffin Preserve as well as the larger family of ACR preserves. Gwen sits on the Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee and the Sanctuary Advisory Council for the Gulf of the Farallones. 

WILDCARE announces the award:

A self-described lover of all things creepy crawly, Gwen Heistand’s contagious enthusiasm for nature has spread far and wide across the Bay Area, encouraging countless students to become active stewards of the environment.

As the Director of Education at Audubon Canyon Ranch, Gwen directs and educates over 350 active docents per year. Gwen’s docent team succeeds in educating thousands of elementary students per year—well over 50,000 students in her 15 year term.

In addition, Gwen has taught field and lab classes for both UC Santa Barbara and the College of Marin, including invertebrate zoology, mammalogy, and marine biology, just to name a few.

Over the course of her career in environmental education, Gwen’s diversity of knowledge and infectious passion for nature has inspired countless children and adults to expand their awareness and appreciation of local wildlife.

Receiving nearly 50 letters of support from members of the environmental education community, WildCare is honored to award Gwen with our 2017 Terwilliger Environmental Award. This year’s award is sponsored by the Terwilliger Nature Education Legacy (TNEL).

Please join us to celebrate the presentation of the 2017 Terwilliger Environmental Award to Gwen Heistand on Saturday, July 15, 2017! Reservation required.