John Ahrns Award for Environmental Education

This child, adult, group or organization will have innovated curriculum and integrated the natural world, and perhaps their schoolyard, into their classroom so that their students are inspired to become explorers of the natural world on their own time. John Ahrns is among a rarefied group of first rate naturalists and was the sole preserve director and lead educator since Westcave’s beginnings in 1976 until his retirement in 2010. John Ahrns began his work at the Preserve by hauling more than 100 full-size garbage bags of trash out of the Westcave canyon. Years later, when he had accomplished astonishing restoration and protection for the Preserve, John set out to build an environmental education program that now attracts more than 6,000 children each year.

Previous winners include:

  • 2008 Danna Keyburn, Redeemer Lutheran School
  • 2009 David Matthews, Small Middle School Teacher, AISD
  • 2010 Johnny Wilson, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School
  • 2011 William Earley, Laurel Mountain Elementary, Round Rock ISD
  • 2012 LCPL Nicholas S. Perez Elementary School
  • 2013 City of Austin, Watershed Protection Department - Earth Camp
  • 2014 Mrs. Lauren Maples – Cunningham Elementary School
  • 2015 Rachel Brice, Inside Outside School
  • 2016 Collins van Nort, Earth Kids at Barton Hills Elementary School
  • 2017 Keep Austin Beautiful
  • 2018 Trevor Hance, Laurel Mountain Elementary School
  • 2019 Kerstin Johansson, City of Austin, Park Ranger Education & Outreach
  • 2020 Doug DuBois, Texas Youth Hunting Program