Daryl Ratajczak, TWS member and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service, received the Southwest section (Region 3) of the U.S. Forest Service’s Gifford Pinchot Award for Excellence in Interpretation and Conservation Education for his work on the Student Wildlands Adventure Program (SWAP). Ratajczak is now a finalist for the national award, which will be presented at the end of November.
The SWAP program is the brainchild of Ratajczak and Robert Brewer, an associate professor at Cleveland State Community College and the advisor for the school’s student chapter of TWS. The Greg A. Vital Center for Natural Resources and Conservation at Cleveland State and the Student Chapter of TWS are recognized as partners with Ratajczak for the program.
Tennessee’s Cleveland State Community College Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society recently completed its first official SWAP, a student exchange program that allows students to gain experience in other parts of the country at little to no cost. Last summer, Cleveland State students traveled to the deserts of New Mexico to experience natural resources management in the region firsthand. This August they “swapped” with students from New Mexico who traveled to experience the lush green spaces of southeastern Tennessee.
Read more about the award-winning program in The Chattanoogan here.