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"Let The Passion Flow"

"Let The Passion Flow"Tufts graduate Candie Wilderman says that passion – and a love for teaching – are the keys to her success as an award-winning environmentalist and educator. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.28.03] When Candie Wilderman received a lifetime achievement award from Pennsylvania's Third Statewide Summit for Volunteer Watershed Monitors earlier this year, she summed up her life's mission in two simple sentences: "Passion is the wellspring of good science. Let the passion flow." The Tufts graduate's success as an environmentalist and teacher is largely a result of this vision, which has led to the establishment of an acclaimed non-profit organization and the development of the environmental studies program at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

"Candie has long been known as one of the Chesapeake Bay's most inspiring and effective environmental educators," said Don Baugh, the vice president for environmental education at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), when he named the Tufts graduate as the organization's Environmental Educator of the Year in 1998. "The program she established at Dickinson has become a national model for environmental education, just as Candie's personal commitment and hands-on teaching methods made her a model for a generation of Chesapeake Bay educators and conservationists."

Wilderman's studies in geology at Tufts prepared her for an accomplished career in teaching and research. Her field of expertise concerns the rate and magnitude of acidification of streams in Pennsylvania, watershed assessment for land use planning, biological monitoring of streams, urban stormwater runoff assessment, and grassroots environmental activism.

The Tufts graduate incorporates this background into her role as chair of the environmental studies program at Dickinson, where she has worked since 1974. Described by her colleagues as "the Mother of Volunteer Monitoring in Pennsylvania," Wilderman says that her position at Dickinson has given her "good perspective on solving problems arising from human impact on the earth," reported the Perry County Weekly.

Perhaps Wilderman's greatest achievement is her creation of the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) - a non-profit group founded in 1986 that provides technical assistance to community watershed groups throughout Pennsylvania. Comprised of more than 500 adult volunteers and 50 school groups, ALLARM grew so large that Wilderman soon found that she didn't enough time to concentrate her full efforts into both the program and her teaching.

"I didn't want to stop teaching because that's what I love," Wilderman told the Perry County Weekly.

Undeterred, the Tufts graduate hired a full time director for the organization during the mid-1990s, and maintained her involvement by establishing a partnership between ALLARM and Dickinson so that her students could gain environmental career experience while still being enrolled in school.

"I try to teach my students that there is nothing as exciting as the thrill of intellectual discovery and that each of us can nurture and develop our own gifts to contribute to a better world," Wilderman said in an interview with the CBF on TheChesapeakeBay.com. "I can guide students toward these goals, but it works best when we walk together."

Along these lines, perhaps the most salient example of Wilderman's prowess as both an educator and an environmentalist is the fact that she is so revered by her students.

"Professor Wilderman is both a wonderful educator and a powerful motivator for the environment," Wilderman's student Kathleen McHugh said in a statement on TheChesapeakeBay.com. "We're very lucky to have such an inspiring leader and advisor."

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