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McGuire Nuss receives Conservation Educator Award

  • Children wearing life jackets surround an adult on a beach
    Award-winning educator:  Sarah McGuire Nuss (right) joins with a visiting school group to identify marine life seined from the York River. (Editor's note: This photo was taken before COVID-19, when physical distancing and masks were not required.)  Photo by D. Malmquist/VIMS
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Garden Club of Virginia honors CBNERR educator with statewide award

The Garden Club of Virginia has chosen Sarah McGuire Nuss as a winner of its Conservation Educator Award for 2020. McGuire Nuss is the education coordinator of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She is also a doctoral student at William & Mary's School of Education, working on a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Learning Design. 

McGuire Nuss was nominated for the prestigious statewide award by the Garden Club of Gloucester and seconded by the garden clubs of Williamsburg and Hampton Roads. All three local clubs are part of the statewide Garden Club of Virginia, which announced the award during its virtual Conservation Forum on Oct. 27.

Sarah McGuire Nuss In her role at VIMS, McGuire Nuss is responsible for a range of K-12 education outreach programs in marine science. These include family-friendly Discovery Labs, summer camps, teacher-training workshops and partnerships with local schools. She has also served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association and helps lead the Virginia Scientists & Educators Alliance. Through these and many other activities, she has impacted thousands of children in tidewater Virginia and beyond.

“We are delighted that Sarah is one of the winners of the Garden Club of Virginia Conservation Educator Award," says Julie Stone, president of the Garden Club of Gloucester. "Her students not only learn about marine science but also about how to bring a spirit of scientific inquiry to exploring nature. Whether her students are in elementary school, middle school, or high school or are teachers themselves, they are truly inspired by her energy and passion for science.”

William Reay, CBNERR director, says, “It is so exciting and fitting to have Sarah recognized as a winner of the Garden Club’s Conservation Educator Award. For the past 15 years, Sarah has developed experiential education programs to help students, teachers, and the public increase their awareness, understanding, appreciation, and wise use of our coastal resources. We are so proud of her and her achievements at the local, state, regional and national stage.”

McGuire Nuss (tan sweater) volunteers with a group of VIMS colleagues as part of the annual Blue Crab Bowl marine knowledge competition. (Editor's note: This photo was taken before COVID-19.)On learning of the award, McGuire Nuss said, “I’d like to thank the Garden Club of Virginia, and especially the local chapters that nominated me, for this award. I am so honored that the work we have been doing at the Research Reserve at VIMS has been recognized, and we look forward to continuing to work with local students to teach them about their environment.”

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, McGuire Nuss and the education team have continued to provide alternative online opportunities for learning about the environment. Learn more about current CBNERR programming.

Now celebrating its centennial year, the Garden Club of Virginia is a 48-member federation of garden clubs from across the commonwealth with more than 3,300 members dedicated to protecting and conserving Virginia’s historic gardens and natural beauty. Its annual Historic Garden Week, the nation’s only statewide house and garden tour, attracts nearly 30,000 annual visitors from around the nation.