Former New Jersey Project WET Coordinator Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin Kopp, former New Jersey Project WET Coordinator The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) this month will honor Kevin Kopp, who was the New Jersey Project WET Coordinator until recently. Kevin will receive the Patricia F. Kane Lifetime Achievement Award at an awards dinner in Plainsboro, NJ.

“This award would not be coming to me without a lifetime of support from my family, friends and colleagues in environmental education!” Kevin said in an email.

ANJEE supports and advances environmental education efforts in New Jersey for people of all ages to cultivate an environmentally literate population. The organization’s Patricia F. Kane Lifetime Achievement Award honors outstanding New Jersey educators who have demonstrated a commitment to environmental education over the course of their career, benefiting the people of New Jersey and emphasizing education that leads to action.

The K-8 Hamburg School held its first water festival this year, reaching about 500 studentsNJ Project WET water festivals reached more than 17,000 students while Kevin was Coordinator In his 11 years as New Jersey Project WET Coordinator, Kevin certainly accomplished that and more. In collaboration with his facilitators, Kevin helped reach more than 2,700 New Jersey educators through 236 workshops. He and his network also held 42 water festivals that reached nearly 17,000 New Jersey schoolkids. Outside of New Jersey, he worked with Arizona Project WET, Georgia Project WET and Connecticut Project WET to offer educator workshops focusing on incorporating music into Project WET. He has also shared his water education songs in Nova Scotia, Canada.

An accomplished musician as well as an environmental educator, Kevin is known in the water education community for incorporating music into education, culminating in a 2015 album, Water We Singing About?. The album features 14 water education songs for educators, children and families and can be used with 20 activities from the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0. Water We Singing About? has also been bundled with Project WET’s early childhood education guide, Getting Little Feet Wet.

Kevin's album of water songs complements many Project WET activities In a 2015 interview, Kevin said that he had used music in his education programs since he began his career as an environmental educator in the 1980s.

“Honestly, I do not remember ever doing a Project WET workshop that did not include songs,” Kevin said. “We know that people learn in many ways and the more ways an idea is presented, the more likely it is to be remembered and incorporated into learning.”

Kevin Kopp, New Jersey Project WET Coordinator, at a workshop in ArizonaKevin held music-themed workshops in Arizona, Connecticut and Georgia Project WET Vice President of Networks Julia Beck said that in addition to his leadership in New Jersey and in incorporating the arts into Project WET, Kevin also had a significant impact on Project WET and water education throughout the United States.

“As the chair of the Project WET USA Research and Evaluation committee, Kevin helped to develop and pioneer the online workshop registration and evaluation system,” Julia explained. “He used it for all his workshops and helped other coordinators use it by leading webinars. He also helped to develop an excel file for use with online evaluation data that automatically populates results and graphs—I still use this tool every year for annual reports.”

Julia said that Kevin’s presence is missed in the Project WET USA network, adding, “We wish him all the best as he accepts this well-deserved honor.”

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