The Garden Club of Virginia presented Kiptopeke State Park with the Conservation Educator Award in recognition of the staff’s hard work in an educational environment, mainly in the Big Water Visitor Center. The educational center provides a learning environment, which benefits the community and the park and staff are recognized for their dedication to conservation education.
The award was presented at the park’s Explore Outdoors event on September 24. The park also celebrated its 30th anniversary and Park Manager Sean Dixon said a few words in the afternoon. Cupcakes were available to guests after the brief speech and thanks were given to the Garden Club.
“It is an honor to be a recipient of the 2022 Conservation Educator Award,” said Kiptopeke State Park Manager Sean Dixon. “Staff at Kiptopeke along with members of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore have worked hard on creating a space for not only the locals but for visitors from all over to learn about the Eastern Shore.”
Since its founding in 1920, the Garden Club of Virginia has been working for the protection of natural resources, and its support for Virginia State Parks has been a priority from the beginning. The Garden Club of Virginia celebrated its 2020 Centennial with the completion of a five-year, $500,000 grant to Virginia State Parks projects and programs.
“As Conservation Chairman for the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, my committee has worked hard to promote Kiptopeke State Park,” said Mina Turner. “We applied and were given a grant by the GCVA in 2020 for the development of the Big Water Visitor Center. My committee applied this past June for the Conservation Educator Award for the Big Water Visitor Center at Kiptopeke and were excited when we were told that we won. We see the value of educating the public about the park and land conservation and truly enjoy working alongside the staff.”
The Conservation Educator Award is presented to those who celebrate the beauty of the land, conserve the gifts of nature and challenge future generations to build on this heritage. This award is a recognition award which will promote the ideals of conservation through education.
“The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore has helped with many projects,” said Kiptopeke State Park Assistant Manager Stephanie Vernachick. “One of the main contributions is their continuing support in helping secure grants for the park to use towards creating spaces to conserve, restore and preserve historic landscapes. Without their help in securing the Centennial Grant to help build the Visitor Center none of this would even be possible. Every year the park receives a donation from the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore and this goes directly to helping continuing our mission of conserving the natural habitat and creating an educational space for all guests.”