A popular professor at Calvin College has been surprised with two awards in less than a week.
Dave Warners, a professor of biology, received the Mary Jane Dockery Award last week from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan (joining Calvin colleague Randy VanDragt as one of two honorees).
Then today he was honored as the 2006 Professor of the Year by the senior class at Calvin, an award sponsored by the college's student alumni association which began the award in 1998 as a way for the senior class to honor a current Calvin faculty memebr who has made an impact on the lives of students.
The recipient is "an outstanding teacher, one who has made significant efforts to guide the lives of students in faith and in learning." Criteria for the award include excellence in teaching, spiritual impact and concern for students.
The Mary Jane Dockery Award also has an educational focus.
It is given annual to the region's premier environmental educators, recognizing an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the quality of nature interpretation or to conservation efforts in West Michigan.
Both Warners and VanDragt have played key leadership roles in environmental efforts at Calvin and beyond.
Warners recently performed botanical inventories of four significant parcels of natural areas in West Michigan, the largest of which is Hoffmaster State Park. These inventories generated information that will help the land managers care for these natural areas.
Other off-campus activities have included utilizing Calvin students to help local schools and parks establish native wildflower habitats. Over a dozen such projects have been done in the past eight years. One of these was a Native American Garden at Creston Christian School, where all the plants used were important species for local Indian tribes.
The Land Conservancy of West Michigan is a non-profit, independent organization endorsed by a broad coalition of citizens that works to protect west Michigan's natural lands while respecting private property rights. The Land Conservancy services the counties of Allegan, Kent, Lake, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Ottawa, and participates in a number of river protection, watershed, and greenways projects throughout west Michigan.