PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) salutes Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator Kimberly Sullivan of DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife, this year's recipient of the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association's (RIEEA) Environmental Education Award. DEM Director Janet Coit nominated Kimberly and had the pleasure of presenting her with the award during RIEEA's annual event at Rhode Island College on January 19.
"Kimberly inspires what Rachel Carson called 'a sense of wonder' in the people with whom she interacts," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "She has reached thousands of Rhode Islanders, connecting her with the wonders of nature. Through her Traveling Tidepool, children see up close the incredible marine life surrounding us, creatures like northern puffer, spiny dogfish, pipefish and skates. Her work in Central Falls brought the joy of fishing to Spanish-speaking families, in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Whether teaching adults how to dig for quahogs, or students to count river herring going up a fish ladder, Kimberly changes lives through her work, opening people's eyes to the natural world. Her special combination of enthusiasm and scientific acumen have allowed Kimberly to successfully influence people across Rhode Island, creating a ripple effect that leads to better stewards for our precious environment."
As the leader of DEM's Aquatic Resource Education (ARE) program for the past 15 years, Kimberly has been instrumental in expanding opportunities for Rhode Islanders to get outside, enjoy nature, and experience the joy of fishing in a variety of aquatic environments. Last year alone she organized Come Clam with Me classes, expanded opportunities for youths and families from Central Falls to learn to fish, and hosted tidal seines to help participants learn about local aquatic species and reinforce conservation and aquatic stewardship. Among the many programs offered by DEM's ARE program are marine and freshwater ecology programs for children; State Record, Game Fish, and Children's First Fish Awards; the Traveling Tidepool for pre-school children; and marine and freshwater Aquaculture in the Classroom programs where Atlantic salmon, trout, and horseshoe crabs are raised and released into the wild.
As the primary contact for fish hatchery and fish ladder tours for school groups, Kimberly has taught countless children about freshwater and migratory fish. She also helps coordinate the summer children's saltwater fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park hosted by the RI Saltwater Anglers Association. A principal fisheries biologist, Kimberly also serves as the lead investigator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aid Program for Aquatic Resource Education. Her outreach and educational work extend to cooperative ventures with the knowledgeable staff of the US Fish and Wildlife Service at their Kettle Pond and Sachuest Point facilities, Audubon Society of RI, Save The Bay, and watershed and municipal organizations.
A resident of Richmond, Kimberly graduated with honors from Roger Williams University with a B.S. in Marine Biology with minors in psychology and environmental biology. She currently serves as secretary of the national Aquatic Resource Education Association, and is the RI Project WILD State Coordinator, the RI Project WET State Coordinator, and the RI angler R3 representative on the R3 regional committee.
"Kimberly is held in high esteem by state, federal, and non-governmental partners," Director Coit noted. "She is very generous and always brings a host of resources and expertise to the table, sowing goodwill and new discoveries wherever she goes. That RIEEA has recognized her means so much. DEM appreciates all the ways that RIEEA is increasing environmental literacy across Rhode Island."
For information on DEM's ARE program visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for information on DEM programs and services and other timely updates.