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Bernheim’s Smith selected naturalist of year in Kentucky

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  CLERMONT -- Wren Smith, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest’s Interpretive Programs Manager, is the recipient of the Kentucky Society of Natural History 2010 Naturalist of the Year award.

 This prestigious award goes to a woman who has dedicated her life to helping others understand and appreciate the gifts of nature.  This award puts her among distinguished honorees such as Mary Wharton, Hugh Archer, Tom Barnes and other Kentucky naturalists over a 37-year history.

 With 25-plus years under her safari hat and numerous awards, including the National Association for Interpretation’s (NAI) Region 3 Outstanding Interpreter Award in 2004, Smith is highly regarded in the national naturalist community. 

She is frequently sought for speaking engagements and her teaching methods are utilized by many organizations that train naturalists.

Smith created Bernheim’s acclaimed Naturalist in Training (NIT) program in 2003.  This program is a vibrant community of active volunteers who offer a wide variety of nature programs, hikes and discovery experiences for Bernheim’s 200,000 annual visitors. 

Many of these naturalists have gone on to win awards themselves, such as Bob Lenning, the 2007 recipient of the Outstanding Interpreter award, and many have furthered their own careers in the field, including Tavia Cathcart, Executive Director of Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve and one of the authors of the new “Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest” coffee table book.

Smith also crafts and leads many of Bernheim’s educational programs.  These include the popular Wild Edibles program where people learn how to find and prepare food directly from the forest, and the upcoming NIT Orientation on Feb. 5.  The orientation is free and open to the public; register by calling (502) 955-8512. 

Smith also helps people become certified naturalists with an annual training – the next NAI Certified Interpretive Guide conference is March 25 – 28 at Bernheim.

Dr. Mark K. Wourms, Executive Director of Bernheim, understands the importance of nature interpretation in meeting Bernheim’s mission, and he is pleased that Smith has been honored by her peers. 

“Wren combines her deep love for nature with keen observation skills and unabashed creativity to deliver interpretive programs which truly connect people with nature.  We are extremely proud of Wren and look for years of fun with her at Bernheim.”

The Kentucky Society of Natural History is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1943 to promote the study of nature and the natural sciences.

To learn more about Bernheim, including the Naturalist in Training program, visit bernheim.org.