Sense of Wonder Award Winner

Katrina Liebich

Katrina Liebich, outreach coordinator for Alaska fisheries, won this year’s Sense of Wonder award for excellence in interpretation and environmental education (Photo: courtesy of Katrina Liebich)

November 16, 2016 - Katrina Liebich  has been honored with the 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sense of Wonder Award for excellence in interpretation and environmental education.  Liebich is outreach coordinator for Fisheries and Ecological Services in Alaska, where she finds innovative ways to communicate the science of fisheries management to children and adults.

Among other outreach initiatives,  Liebich helped organize trips to Alaska by members of Portland, Oregon’s Soul River, a non-profit organization that pairs inner city youth and veterans.  A trip to Arctic and Kenai Refuges in Alaska was an opportunity for “youth and veterans to learn from one another, discover Arctic climate change impacts first hand, fly-fish amazing rivers and meet and exchange ideas with Alaskan youth,” says Liebich. The Soul River young people also participated in a “Creek to Plate” program that introduces youth from Anchorage to safe fishing opportunities. Liebich says the USFWS Fisheries Program creates outdoor experiences intended to inspire lifelong conservation of fish and wildlife and the lands and waters that support them.

“I really do believe that inspiring the leadership for all of us to care about our environment is what is going to help secure the future for Alaska’s fish and the nation’s aquatic species in general,” says Liebich. “Fish have their own unique challenges related to their biology which makes them largely invisible to the American public. We need to help people connect with what they can’t really see.” 

Regional nominees for the annual Sense of Wonder Award are:

  • Region 1          Sandy Rancourt, Supervisory Park Ranger, Inland Northwest National  Wildlife Refuge Complex, WA
  • Region 2          Nancy Brown, Southwest Region National Wildlife Refuge System Urban & Friends Coordinator, TX
  • Region 3          Jennifer Lilla, Visitor Services Manager, Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, WI
  • Region 4          Stacey Hayden, Education Specialist, Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge, KY
  • Region 5          Janis Nepshinsky, Visitor Services Manager, Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex
  • Region 6           Barry Jones, Park Ranger, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, KS
  • Region 7          Katrina Liebich (Mueller), Alaska Region Fisheries Outreach Coordinator, Fisheries and Ecological Services, AK
  • Region 8          Michael Glenn, Schoolyard Habitat Program and Connecting People With Nature Coordinator, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, CA 



Sense of Wonder winner Katrina Liebich educates the public about the unique challenges of coho salmon. (Photo: courtesy of Katrina Liebich)