Join us as we help raise awareness for shark conservation all week long during Shark Week 2017!

2017 National Wetlands Award Winner: Dana Pounds!

Nature’s Academy is proud to announce that Dana Pounds, our Executive Director, has been selected to receive the Education and Outreach award for the 2017 National Wetlands Awards!

The National Wetlands Awards are presented annually to finalists who have excelled in wetlands restoration, protection, and education. The goal is to promote and support those that make it their mission to protect these important natural resources. This program is administered by the Environmental Law Institute with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, NOAA Fisheries, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Federal Highway Administration. Finalists for the National Wetlands Awards are selected by a committee composed of ten or more wetland experts from across the country. It was a unanimous decision by the committee to select Dana to receive the Education and Outreach award.

“Science education isn’t my just life’s work. Science education literally saved my lifeSo, I feel compelled to inspire youth to fall in love with science in the hope that someday they may use science to save the lives of other people and the planet itself.” – Dana Pounds.

Dana is a leading force in wetland conservation through her efforts to improve local communities and coastlines via community outreach and education efforts. She developed numerous experiential learning programs that integrate STEM, Common Core and Florida Sunshine State Standards. By offering “edventures” at no cost, Dana has successfully extended these programs to local low-income students within Manatee County. As a result, nearly every fifth grader in the Manatee County School District is lucky enough to attend Nature’s Academy’s outdoor science education field trips. Through Dana’s decade of work with Nature’s Academy, she has empowered over 55,000 students, teachers and chaperones from 41 states and four countries to become the stewards of wetland habitats.

STEM and marine science educationThe positive impact doesn’t stop there! Through our shared collaboration with GCOOS, the Galveston Bay Foundation, and the Florida Aquarium, GCOOS was able to launch the beta Gulf Citizen Science Portal in 2015 ( Just one example of Nature’s Academy’s achievements and its continued support for protecting natural ecosystems.

All of us at Nature’s Academy are honored to know that our founder and inspiration is being recognized for all her achievements throughout the community. Join us in celebrating this wonderful achievement for STEM and marine science education! For more information about our founder and inspiration, visit the Dana Pounds Website!