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Prairie Springs Excellence Award

A page within Sustainability

Prairie Springs Instructor and Student Excellence Awards

Applications for the second annual Prairie Springs Instructor and Student Excellence Awards are now being accepted. Each of these $1,000 awards is funded by Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust. 

These awards are intended to encourage UWL instructors, undergraduate students and graduate students to continue the environmental education and conservation work that were the passion of the trustee, the late Paul Fleckenstein, and to inspire others to do the same. Students who graduated in December of the academic year in which the award is granted may apply.

We encourage interested instructors and students to:

  • self-nominate by submitting the instructor or student self-nomination form and providing two references (see button on this page), or
  • nominate a colleague or student by submitting the third-party nomination form (see button on this page)

All nominations are due January 15, 2023. Those who have been nominated in the past may apply for the award again using the same project, but must be able to demonstrate new advancements in their work. Past Prairie Springs Excellence Award winners can apply for the award every five years.

Please contact Andrew Ericson at with any questions.

Application Criteria

There are two $1,000 Prairie Springs Excellence Awards. One $1,000 award is to be granted to a UWL undergraduate or graduate student and a second $1,000 award to a UWL instructor, including tenure-track faculty and instructional academic staff. The awardees will have made substantial and sustainable contributions to one or more of the following areas:

  1. Environmental Studies
  2. Environmental Research
  3. Environmental Education
  4. Environmental Outreach

The criteria for both the student and instructor awards includes the following, in order of priority:

Impact of the individual’s environmental accomplishment(s)

  • Original and inventive work or research that both advances the discipline, and results in tangible and practical contributions to environmental education, conservation, and restoration. The former could include endeavors that contribute to the advancement of public awareness for the betterment of the total environment.

Scope of environmental accomplishment(s)

  • Demonstrated engagement with UWL and the broader Seven Rivers local community and stakeholders.

Sustainability of accomplishment(s)

  • Accomplishments involve the creation of enduring opportunities/possibilities that make a substantive impact.

The criteria for the instructor award includes the previous three listings plus the following:

Fostering and promoting student environmental leadership

  • Pursuits that motivate, mentor, and inspire students to become influential environmental leaders.

Read About Past Winners

Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust


Application Questions Lists

Nominate a colleague or student

Past Recipients


Student - Veronica Sannes

Instructor - Tisha King-Heiden


Student - Bella Anderson

Instructor - Ross Vander Vorste


Student - Jade Wahlgren

Instructor - Kelly Sultzbach

Prairie Springs and Paul Fleckenstein

Paul Fleckenstein

Paul Fleckenstein was a steadfast supporter of environmental education and conservation programs. As the executive director of the R.A. Stevens Foundation and through personal contributions, Fleckenstein supported organizations such as the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, The Nature Conservancy, and the Denis Sullivan Schooner. Fleckenstein graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a major in urban education. The Prairie Springs name is the one that Fleckenstein gave his cherished home in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin and reflects the passion that he had for land and water conservation.

Community Judges

Dairyland Power Cooperative

Organic Valley

J.F. Brennan Company, Inc.

Campus Judges

Student Research and Experiential Learning Coordinator

Department of Environmental Studies

Department of Biology

Our community sponsors

Dairyland Power Cooperative logoOrganic Valley logoBrennan Logo