Dorsey receives prestigious environmental education award

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Terry Dorsey has received the prestigious Dr.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Terry Dorsey has received the prestigious Dr. Breckenridge Award for environmental education.

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The honor came April 27-28 at the 2001 annual state convention of the Minnesota division of the Izaak Walton League of America.

Held at St. Cloud, Dorsey was presented with the award at a luncheon April 28.

He is a member of Austin Chapter No. 10 of the Minnesota division of IWLA.

For the past 30 years, Dorsey has been teaching physics, weather and astronomy, plus science and environmental studies at Austin High School.

His current teaching assignment is a year-long environmental studies course which incorporates several field trips during the school year with visits to the nearby J.C. Hormel Nature Center.

Dorsey’s studies in stream chemistry, deer census techniques, cross-country skiing techniques, bird banding and field identification and general environmental awareness involve more than 130 students.

Environmental issues such as tree management, population problems, endangered species and waste water treatment are also incorporated in the course.

Dorsey was raised at New London, Wis., on the banks of the lower Wolf River. He first learned of the cycles of nature when the Wolf River flooded and he fished the annual walleye run.

Dorsey next attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he and his future wife, Diane, became interested in environmental issues while taking the required conservation courses for teachers taught by Dr. Jacob Shapiro.

After graduating in 1967 with a degree in natural science, he taught ninth-grade science in Oconomowoc, Wis. and often attended the Audubon Society lecture series in Milwaukee.

An Audubon Society camps for teacher brochure eventually changed the couple’s lives and increased their environmental experiences with a stay at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, where he earned a master’s of science teaching degree while on an NSF grant.

The couple attended the Wisconsin Audubon Camp in 1971 and two years later joined the teaching staff there for the next seven summers.

In 1972 he became instrumental in starting the local Audubon chapter and, he said, "perseverance and pluck" resulted in his hiring as the director of the Wisconsin Audubon Camp for an additional seven years.

The National Audubon Society closed operation of the Wisconsin Audubon Camp in 1986, but the Friends of Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary brought about the resurrection of the facility and a board of directors has operated it since 1990.

Dorsey has continued to teach lake and bog studies there for several weeks during the past 10 summers.

His Austin High environmental studies course is an extension of a semester curriculum begun by Ken Mjoen in 1978.

So concerned about continuing the field trips for students, that Dorsey believes are an integral part of the course, that the teacher convinced the local Izaak Walton chapter to assist in transportation.

He also joined the chapter after seeing its involvement in the same issues he was teaching and promoting in the classes he taught.

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at