UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor honors Brian Russart

Contact: Eloisa Gomez, (414)256-4640, eloisa.gomez@ces.uwex.edu

UW-Extension natural areas management specialist Brian Russart received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for setting superior standards of excellence with the Milwaukee County Parks Department and educating the community through hands-on learning using restoration ecology.

UW-Extension and UW Colleges Chancellor Ray Cross presented Russart with the award at the institutions’ recent annual Chancellor’s Awards reception in Madison. The awards recognize UW Colleges and UW-Extension partners, supporters and employees for their outstanding contributions that enhance the quality of life in Wisconsin.

“Today’s award recipients have been chosen by their peers because of their exemplary commitment to bringing the resources of the university to the people of the state. It’s my privilege to draw attention to their good work,” said Cross.

Russart has developed a program that actively engages and educates the community through hands-on learning using the science of restoration ecology. The program area’s success has grown immensely in a very short period of time. Currently, the Natural Areas Program has over 70 partner organizations (educational institutions, community groups, government agencies, corporations, and not-for-profits), annually averages between 2,500-3,000 natural areasstewardship volunteers (who donated nearly 27,000 hours of stewardship work in 2009 and 2010 combined), and annually improves the environmental quality of 1,200 acres of County owned land.

Through Russart’s efforts the program area has gone from being unrecognized by the Milwaukee County community, either collegial or professionally, to a program that serves as a regional role model of urban natural resource management and community engagement. The program area has been published in state, regional, and international publications, presentations have been given at local, regional, and national conferences (which includes guest lectures at four local universities), and staff has developed educational natural resource management materials that have been used for local and regional workshops. Building on the program’s outreach success, a natural areas workday recently appeared on the Wisconsin Public Television show Outdoor Wisconsin which highlighted the program area’s efforts working with the local community toward management of publicly owned natural resources.

“Brian has consistently and substantially demonstrated an ability and willingness to work positively and effectively with others,” wrote one colleague. “He has set superior standards of excellence in relation to the county office’s partnership with the Milwaukee County Parks Department, resulting in important and significant contributions to both organizations.”

UW-Extension includes Cooperative Extension offices in 72 counties and three tribal nations, 12 Small Business Development Centers, and outreach and e-learning programs delivered via the 26 UW System campuses and distance-learning channels, as well as the statewide networks of Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.

To learn more about the UW-Extension and UW Colleges Chancellor’s awards, go to http://www.uwex.edu/news/read/2011/9/Chancellor_Ray_Cross_Announces_2011_Chancellor’s_Awards_Recipients

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