Rosanne Fortner Receives International Environmental Award

Washington, DC – Rosanne Fortner has received the highest honor from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). The Walter E. Jeske Award recognizes outstanding service to NAAEE and leadership within the profession.

Fortner attended the NAAEE conference in Raleigh, NC, on October 15, 2011, to accept the honor, which was presented by Tom Marcinkowski, the 2010 Jeske winner.

"Dr. Rosanne Fortner is one of those leaders in our profession who has gone about her work over the past three decades ... at Ohio State, within NAAEE, with The Journal of Environmental Education, and in the marine science education arena with COSEE and NMEA ... in a visionary, steady, and dedicated, yet quiet, manner," said Marcinkowski, who nominated Fortner. "She has stood for and pushed for excellence in our field, and has been a bridge builder to sister fields such as marine education and earth systems science education. She is highly deserving of this award, and this recognition for her lengthy and numerous contributions to the wider environmental education profession."

Fortner became a Visiting Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University (OSU) in 1978. She was a full-time OSU faculty member from 1979 until her retirement in 2005. She has been active in leadership, service, teaching and advising, research, and publishing in EE and related fields. Within NAAEE, she has been a member since 1980. Her service has included Board Member (1986-89), representative to the NGO Global Forum in Rio (1992), active member of the Research Commission (1989 - ), liaison to NMEA (1981), and most recently, North American Conference Co-Chair (2011).

While at the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) at OSU, she served as Assistant Professor of Natural Resources, Associate Professor of Science Education, Professor of Natural Resources, Environmental Science and Science Education, and finally Professor Emeritus and part-time faculty member. While there, she also served as coordinator of the Ohio Sea Grant Education Program, coordinator of the Earth Systems Education Program, and director of COSEE Great Lakes. One of her strengths has been her ability to move seamlessly between natural resources, environmental science and education. She taught in both areas and chaired/co-chaired Ph.D. committees for nearly a dozen students in science education, and another half-dozen in natural resources, many of whom have been active in EE and NAAEE (e.g., Board Members, Research Commission Chairs, Affiliates Steering Committee Chair, Pre-Service Council Chair).

Her publishing, grant, and editorial work is extensive. Since 1990, she has authored/co-authored 20 books and chapters, as well as 40 research articles in referred journals and another 30 in other publications in the fields of environmental, marine, and science education. Many have been written with her graduate students. Further, she administered 40 grants and contracts in these fields, many of which link science and education. Beyond this, she served on editorial boards for numerous journals and newsletters, including The Journal of Environmental Education and The Journal of Great Lakes Research.

She is often credited as the first person to bring marine science/marine education into EE, as is evident in her doctoral dissertation, "Experiences related to marine knowledge and attitudes of tenth grade students in coastal and inland high schools in Virginia" (1978). She continued this work with Ohio Sea Grant, the COSEE Program, and NMEA. In "retirement" at her home on Oak Island, NC, she has taught environmental and marine education courses online for UNC-Wilmington, and is Co-Chair of the Oak Island Beach Preservation Society. In 2010 she prepared a collection of abstracts covering 20 years of research in marine and aquatic education for NOAA.

In addition to her participation the in Rio Global Forum and the subsequent UNESCO Conference in Thessaloniki, her diverse international work has included: presentations in the USSR (1988), the UK (1993), Mexico (1994), Canada (1995), Taiwan (1996), Australia (2000), Korea (2001), Japan (2004), and Crete (2007); consulting with the Pacific Island Network (1991) and the World Bank (1992); and service as a Fulbright Scholar in Cyprus (1999).

Fortner and previous award recipients are highlighted on the NAAEE Web site, The award honors the memory of Walt Jeske, Chief of the Education and Publications Unit with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Jeske was a dedicated member of the NAAEE Board of Directors and outstanding environmental educator until his untimely death in 1981.

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is an international network of environmental educators who infuse communities with high-quality teaching methods to show the positive, non-confrontational ways that people can bring about solutions to environmental challenges. Find out more information about the organization and the conference at