GREENWICH, Conn. -- Audubon Greenwich's Ted Gilman as the recipient of the Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year award, honoring his decades of work and commitment to the organization, the National Audubon Society announced.
Gilman, a senior naturalist and education specialist, received the award as a surprise at a banquet at the Grange Audubon Center in Columbus, Ohio, and was celebrated by his colleagues from around the country.
The Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year is named in honor of a pioneer of Audubon's conservation education programs. The endowment that provides the funding for this annual award was created through a gift donated in her name in 2005.
Gilman was hired in 1974 as a birdlife instructor at Audubon’s Camp on Hog Island in Maine, where he continues to teach ornithology. While working on his master’s degree in environmental education at Cornell University, he was roommates with Stephen Kress, founder of “Project Puffin” and vice president of bird conservation at the National Audubon Society.
Gilman received an invitation to apply for a staff naturalist position with Audubon Greenwich. He left Ithaca to pursue what he hoped would be his dream job and he has been living that dream for 37 years.
"Today, there is nothing Gilman finds more satisfying than when he recognizes in a child that same 'bug,' as he calls it, for birds that he experienced as a young naturalist," a statement said. "Many of his students from his early years now return with their children to experience walks with Ted."
Former student Michelle Frankel, now center director at Audubon Greenwich, participated as a teenager in the center's Summer Ecology Workshop for Educators.
“Though I was not a teacher and by far the youngest participant, it was a formative experience for me that led the way for me to devote my life to wildlife conservation. I had never before encountered someone so deeply knowledgeable -- and passionate -- about nature as Ted. It is my great, good fortune to be able to continue to learn from Ted as a colleague each and every day,” said Frankel.