Honeywell Hometown Solutions Recognized for Its Commitment to Conservation Programs
The Montezuma Audubon Center honored Honeywell Hometown Solutions this week for its support of sustainable programs that promote birding and habitat conservation, as well as educational programs that raise awareness and promote environmental stewardship to new audiences.
In recognizing Honeywell with the Donald G. Colvin Conservation Award, Onondaga Audubon Society President Gene Huggins said, “The partnership among Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, and Honeywell has been significant in creating educational programs that instill a sense of stewardship in our youth to protect and preserve the environment, as well as raise awareness of Onondaga Lake as an Important Bird Area.”
Audubon also presented a Donald G. Colvin Conservation Award to Regional Commissioner of New York State Parks and Recreation John D. Marsellus for his commitment to conservation.
Honeywell Vice President for Environmental Projects Evan van Hook accepted the award on behalf of Honeywell Hometown Solutions. “It’s a terrific honor to receive such a prestigious award and be recognized alongside such a distinguished conservationist,” said van Hook. “Our partnership with Audubon builds on Honeywell’s initiatives with world-class institutions to develop innovative programming that provides educators and students with creative techniques to inspire learning in science, math, natural systems, and the environment.”
The Montezuma Audubon Center, the Onondaga Audubon Society, and Honeywell have been working in partnership since 2008 when they jointly adopted Onondaga Lake as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The adoption marked the first time a company in New York State co-adopted an IBA with an Audubon organization.
In December 2009, Audubon and Honeywell Hometown Solutions introduced Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education, a program designed to promote stewardship, enhance habitat, support birding, raise awareness of the Onondaga Lake Important Bird Area, and provide educators with creative ways to teach science and environmental studies.
Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education, now in its second year, offers hands-on lessons and inquiry-based techniques for educators to teach students about habitats and ecosystems, water quality, birds, native plants, and sustainability.
Teachers who completed last year’s program also attended the Audubon event.
Last August, Onondaga County’s top middle school science teachers explored the Onondaga Lake watershed during the five day workshop, which provided teachers with the tools to help strengthen students’ critical, analytical, and creative thinking skills through discoveries in watershed dynamics, habitat health, and the Onondaga Lake IBA.
Chestnut Hill Elementary School teacher Larry Laszlo, one of the 15 teachers who attended last summer’s program, was selected for a Honeywell-sponsored field trip based on his integration of natural system studies into his classroom curriculum. On June 7, Laszlo and 48 of his sixth-grade students took an Onondaga Lake boat tour to explore the lake and view birds in their natural habitat. During the trip, the Montezuma Audubon Center taught the students how birds adapt to their environment and how they can help support bird habitats.
“The information I learned during Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education is overwhelming,” said Laszlo. “The kids now have a better understanding of their impact on the future of Onondaga Lake, and they have been actively engaged in bird identification.”
“It has been really fun looking at the variety of birds and seeing how far the lake has come,” said Chestnut Hill Elementary School student Kaylie Vigneux. “This boat tour really made a difference because I’ve always been interested in birds but now I am going to study birds a lot more after this trip.”
Jennifer Cohen, a sixth-grade science teacher at Long Branch Elementary School in Liverpool, also attended the week-long teacher workshop last summer. Cohen was the second teacher selected for a field trip sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions. She will take 63 of her sixth-grade students on an Onondaga Lake boat tour on June 17.
This year’s Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education program will be held August 8-12. The deadline to apply is June 24. To apply, teachers can visithttp://honeywell.com/Citizenship/Pages/habitat-conservation.aspx and click on the Central New York link.
Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education is a program of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s community outreach initiative which focuses on areas of vital importance: Family Safety & Security; Housing & Shelter; Habitat & Conservation; and Science & Math Education.
Honeywell also worked with Audubon to introduce Audubon’s nationally acclaimed For the Birds! program to 70 Liverpool fifth-grade students in 2010. For the Birds! is a multi-session, interdisciplinary educational program that provides hands-on lessons that teach students about the importance of birds and bird habitats. The lessons are designed to excite students about the wonders of birds and understand how birds are a major indication of our environment’s health.
During For the Birds! at Long Branch Elementary School in Liverpool, students were introduced to birds of prey including a peregrine falcon, a red-tailed hawk, and an eagle owl. The lessons, presented by wildlife rehabilitator Cynthia Page, gave students the opportunity to understand the importance of birds and connect to a world of raptors.
Honoree John D. Marsellus was recognized by the Montezuma Audubon Center for his dedication to habitat conservation in Central New York and support of stewardship initiatives for children and college students. Marsellus serves as a Trustee Emeritus of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and is the longest continuous member of Ducks Unlimited (DU). His father, John F. Marsellus, was a national trustee and his grandfather, John C. Marsellus, was one of the original 13 founding members of DU.
Montezuma Audubon Society’s Donald G. Colvin Conservation Award is presented annually to one corporate leader and one individual in recognition of their efforts to support Audubon. Past award recipients include president of SUNY-ESF Neil Murphy, and former Congressman James T. Walsh.
Onondaga Lake was established as an IBA in 1998 because of its value to congregating waterfowl such as the American Black Duck and the Common Merganser. The Adopt an IBA program is an educational program facilitated by Audubon New York, a state program for the National Audubon Society.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.onondaga-lake-initiatives.com.