Buffalo, N.Y. The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has named 27-year-old Cheektowaga native and naturalist Marcus Rosten an NAAEE 2020 EE 30 Under 30 Award winner. The annual awards recognize 30 individuals who are applying environmental education (EE) to build sustainable and equitable communities worldwide. Rosten recently joined the Buffalo Public Schools system as an aquatic ecology teacher.
NAAEE Director Judy Braus said, “We can’t address today’s complex challenges in an equitable manner without the talent and innovation of diverse cultural backgrounds, perspectives, and disciplines. We are pleased to include Marcus Rosten among the 2020 class of leaders who exemplify the incredible passion, creativity, and impact of young people who are taking action and inspiring them to build a more just and greener future.”
New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Coastal Literacy Specialist Monica L. Miles, Ph.D., who nominated Rosten for the award, said, “Marcus is an outstanding educator serving the Greater Buffalo Niagara region in areas where high poverty rates have impeded learning opportunities for youth. Of particular note, Marcus expanded the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Young Environmental Leaders Program into Niagara Falls, offering opportunities to explore and expand underserved students’ interest in the STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.”
Rosten will assist the NYSG “Taking Root: A Meaningful Watershed Experience for Youth in Niagara Falls, New York” project. The two-year project is engaging students and families in local environmental literacy and stewardship activities as part of a $5 million, five-year eeBLUE collaborative partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education and NAAEE.
“Marcus makes learning fun and easily shares his knowledge to foster thoughtfulness that encourages educational discovery and leadership that helps build stronger communities,” Miles noted.
Rosten said, “The health of a community is inextricably linked to the health of its waterways and the land use history of the region. I have worked with students suffering from some of the worst environmental injustices to explore hazards and learn progressive restoration solutions, while also exploring potential environmental careers and becoming inspired to serve as stewards of their community. The revival of the Great Lakes is a story that inspires me and one we can all build on for the future.
Rosten brings a diversity of experiences to his programming. He has worked with the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska, as a Park Ranger in Grand Canyon National Park, a naturalist at Reinstein Wood Nature Preserve, a Community Engagement Coordinator for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, a program manager with Western New York PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management), and as a Fish and Wildlife Technician for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is a graduate of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y.