Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ALASKA MARITIME: Refuge’s “Ms. Frizzle” Wins National Award
Alaska Region, November 10, 2005
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Poppy Benson dressed as
Poppy Benson dressed as "Ms. Frizzle" for the annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. - Photo Credit: n/a

Long time public use specialist Poppy Benson, who on occasion has disguised herself as Ms. Frizzle of “Magic School Bus” fame, was the winner of the 2005 “Sense of Wonder” Award, the Service’s highest award in her field.  Poppy received the recognition at the National Association for Interpreters (NAI) conference in Mobile, Alabama, earlier this month.  Each Service region submits a nominee and one is chosen for the award, which takes its name from a quote by Rachel Carson who wished for each child a “sense of wonder” in the natural world that would not diminish over time. 

Much of Poppy’s career at the Alaska Maritime Refuge was spent developing the $18 million Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center and office complex which opened in 2003 to rave reviews from the public.   Other programs she started include the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, the Service’s resident Naturalist Program on board the Alaska State Ferry, science camps for Native youth in remote villages, the Shorebird Sister Schools Project and an environmental education program that serves more than 3,000 students annually. 

Surprised by the award, Poppy appreciated the significance of her recognition.  “It is good that people in the Service thought this award up.  This recognition of those who work with the public increases visibility and respect for our programs. It also gives all nominees a chance to tell each other about our work and that’s very inspiring!”

Poppy Benson joins previous “Sense of Wonder” winners from Alaska, Candace Ward from Kenai Refuge and Mary Timm of Tetlin Refuge. 

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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