Lynda White, EagleWatch Coordinator at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida, has been named the recipient of the 2008 Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year Award. This honor, first bestowed in 2007, was created to recognize exemplary work in education and is presented annually to an individual who has furthered Audubon's vision for environmental education, Audubon Centers, and conservation work.

"Lynda is recognized by her peers as both an inspiring educator and an effective advocate for birds and the environment in Florida," said Judy Braus, Senior Vice President of Education and Centers for Audubon. "She exemplifies the best in nature education. With her extraordinary passion, commitment, and knowledge, she is opening new eyes to nature and conservation each day."

A member of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey staff since 1998, veteran educator White oversees more than 300 EagleWatch volunteers. These "citizen scientists" monitor nearly 300 active nest sites, evaluating threats and/or problems, and provide state and federal wildlife agencies with data that helps influence conservation planning and protection of bald eagles and their habitat

Committed to bringing nature education to diverse groups and communities, White travels throughout the state with one of the rehabilitated bald eagles from the Center by her side, inspiring Eagle Scouts, veterinarians, civic groups, decision makers, Audubon Chapter members, bird festival-goers, schoolchildren and others to care about and protect the natural world. She has also contributed to the development of program curricula that meet Florida Sunshine state standards, as well as an educators' guide to the recent film and novel HOOT that has been distributed nationwide by Walden Media.

Ms. White is an influential advocate for sound conservation policy, and was a strong voice of support for the Florida Forever land acquisition program. She continues to serve on committees charged with creating state and federal post-delisting eagle management plans, and contributes to the protection of bald eagles in Florida through science-based testimony at public hearings and as an expert witness in administrative hearings.

Tamar Chotzen served as Audubon's Vice President of Centers and Education from 1999-2005. During her tenure, Chotzen led the organization's efforts to grow its network of nature centers across the country. Today, there are more than 50 Audubon Centers either in operation or under development. All Audubon Centers are designed to provide environmental education and conservation programming to youth, families and adults. The Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year Award was established through private funding in 2005.

Founded in 1979 in Maitland, FL, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey has treated over 13,000 injured or orphaned birds of prey (raptors), releasing more than 40% of these former patients back into the wild. The Center handles the largest volume of eagles, owls, falcons, hawks, and kites east of the Mississippi River--averaging more than 650 admissions, or injured or orphaned birds of prey, each year—and is a leader among all North American rehabilitation centers for specialized eagle care. The Center also provides environmental education programming to over 20,000 local students, teachers, and visitors annually, while promoting a culture of conservation towards birds of prey and their habitats. A nationally renowned research institute, the Center is an influential voice in the ongoing fight to save endangered and threatened birds of prey.

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