New York, NY--A Newton, Massachusetts woman is the recipient of a new national fellowship designed to advance the work of individuals with outstanding potential to help shape a brighter environmental future.
Gloria Villegas-Cardoza, Director of Education for Mass Audubon, is one of only 40 people selected from across the nation for the TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program, part of a new conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society with support from Toyota. Fellows receive specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. Each Fellow will also receive $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy, and contributing to greater environmental health.
Villegas-Cardoza will focus her efforts on establishing long-lasting partnerships to build urban environmental communities in Lawrence and Lowell Massachusetts. By partnering with community-based organizations in each city and helping them to develop environmental educational programs, Villegas-Cardoza will support service learning and citizen science projects created for community members by community members that focus on environmental issues that are critical to them. Residents, who might never have considered themselves conservationists, will be encouraged to learn, create and protect - making these two urban areas a better place for habitat, wildlife, and humans alike.
Villegas-Cardoza has been affiliated with Mass Audubon since 1999, but - has been involved in science, education and conservation efforts for over three decades. She is a dedicated environmental educator, previously working as the Education Manager for the Boston Nature Center, Mass Audubon's presence in that city, and as a volunteer educator for the Boston Museum of Science. In her native Venezuela, Villegas-Cardoza was the Executive Director at the Center for Scientific studies (CEC-Caracas) and founder of Pro-Ciencia Foundation, an organization dedicated to research and education.
"Gloria is the kind of person who can make a real difference in the health of our environment and the quality of our future," said Audubon President John Flicker. "Each of our TogetherGreen Fellows demonstrates exceptional environmental understanding and commitment, combined with tremendous potential to inspire and lead others. Together, they represent the talented and diverse leadership the environmental community will need to tackle the huge challenges and opportunities confronting us now and in the years to come."
"I am thankful and proud of my selection as a Conservation Fellow for the TogetherGreen Leadership Program as part of the alliance between National Audubon and Toyota North America," said Villegas-Cardoza. "This opportunity will allow me to continue growing as conservation leader and broaden my impact in Massachusetts urban communities. As an environmental educator, I believe that all people can make difference in the world if opportunities to learn and act are given to them. More than ever, our conservation efforts for all people and wildlife need to be focused on inspiring others, coaching them and working hard together to change behaviors."
Villegas-Cardoza received a Masters and DEA degree in Latin America Studies with a concentration in Science, technology and education from Sorbonne University in France, and a Bachelors degree in Biology with a concentration in animal eco-physiology and behavior from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. In the US Gloria attended graduate programs at Lesley University. In addition to her duties at Massachusetts Audubon, Villegas-Cardoza sits on the board of the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University and the Latino