Rural Training Center, Thailand (RTC-Thailand)

Nicole Fernandes: Spotted in the News

Oct 22, 2006

Nicole Fernandes, a friend to Earth Systems Science, Inc. and the Rural Training Center-Thailand, has been named a 2006 Doris Duke Conservation Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation!

We first made contact with Nicole when she was the Education Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) San Diego Office. The NWF wanted to introduce its Habitat Steward and urban wildlife habitat programs in LA.Gregory Lee had co-founded ESSI, and ESSI was at the top of Nicole?’s list for an effective grass-roots community organization in the LA area. What followed was a whirlwind of activities over the next 18 months that included conducting the first NWF Habitat Steward training workshops in LA, a Work Day for Wildlife event, launching an effort to create the first urban community wildlife habitat, and numerous other activities where trained Habitat Steward volunteers participated in community plantings in parks and neighborhoods.

Nicole was instrumental in getting NWF support for the start of the REEEPP effort that was started under ESSI in northern Thailand through a local subsidiary, the Rural Training Center (ESSI-RTC). After the successful summer 2005 REEEPP effort, the ESSI-RTC was spun off as an independent organization and renamed the Rural Training Center-Thailand (RTC-TH).

?“Nicole is one of those special individuals you get to meet in life,?” commented Gregory Lee. ?“Not only is she intelligent, talented, pragmatic, and hard working, she is truly dedicated (heart, mind, and soul) to helping and empowering others to care for each other and the environment. We wish Nicole success in her studies and projects. We look forward to the day when we will be able to work with her again."

When the NWF closed the San Diego office, Nicole redirected her efforts to prepare herself to go on to graduate school in Michigan. [Note: The brief biographical note extracted from the news item we spotted on the Internet is cited below.]

Resource Policy and Behavior: Environmental Education, Univ of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Source: http://www.snre.umich.edu/ecomgt/people/dukefellows2006.htm

A southern California native, Nicole attended the University of California, Riverside, where she pursued studies in entomology. During her junior year, Nicole studied tropical ecology in Costa Rica and became convinced that education and community participation were key in promoting stewardship to preserve and restore ecosystems. After graduation, Nicole worked for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Land Conservation Intern and was soon promoted to Education Coordinator. In this position, Nicole established partnerships with regional and local leaders to develop environmental education programs and create wildlife habits in urban centers. Following her work at NWF, Nicole worked as the Urban Forestry Manager at the Urban Corps of San Diego. Nicole simultaneously broadened her leadership skills as Chairperson of the Golden State Environmental Education Consortium. She worked with colleagues from private, non-profit and public sectors to addresses education reform, ethnic diversity, and leadership issues within the conservation field. At SNRE, Nicole is pursuing a master?’s degree in Resource Policy and Behavior with a focus on environmental education. Her master?’s group project will examine barriers and opportunities to introducing new audiences to parks under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service in the urban-wildland interface. Nicole?’s professional goal is to apply her past experience and new skills and knowledge gained at SNRE to promote cultural diversity with the conservation field and advance progressive environmental education policies while working in the non-profit or public sector.

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