January 23, 2012
Environmental Studies Professor
Wins 2011 Green Educator Award
William Nieter, Assistant Dean of
St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Director of
Environmental Studies Program, won the 2011 Chevrolet Green Educator
Award in December, becoming the first St. John’s faculty member
to receive this honor.
The award — created by
General Motors in partnership with Earth Force — annually
recognizes 20 educators nationwide who show unusual initiative in
integrating environmental learning into their curriculum.
Professor Nieter was selected from a field of 1,000 applicants.
His achievement underscores the University’s continuing leadership
role in environmental sustainability. In 2008, St. John’s received
Gold Star from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for its progress in
reducing campus-wide carbon emissions.
“I am honored that the Office of Academic Service-
Learning (AS-L) nominated me,” said Professor Nieter. “In fact,
I received the award because of the service-learning assignments I
have been able to develop using the
Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) as my central field
The award acknowledges the resourceful way Professor Neiter has
transformed his 35-year relationship with the local, urban wetland
preserve into a community partnership that benefits both the
University and APEC. The site generates service-learning projects
for students in Professor Nieter’s Discover
New York (DNY), geography and natural resource classes, which,
in turn, enables them to improve the environmental health of the
“Professor Nieter has also added value to our AS-L program” said
Stravino, Director of AS-L. “He is willing to collaborate with
other professors by including their students in his DNY service
“We were impressed by Professor Nieter’s commitment to raising
environmental awareness through such extra efforts as creating a blog where he
chronicles all of his students’ APEC activities by season,” said Valerie
Kutcher, Assistant Director of AS-L.
“My dream,” said Professor Nieter, “is to turn Alley Pond into a
world-renowned environmental learning model demonstrating how
educators can use a natural site as a laboratory for developing
student environmental leaders.”
Melissa Lotti ‘12C first became involved in doing service at
APEC as a student in Professor Nieter’s geography class when she
was a sophomore. “I found the experience exciting and eye-opening,”
As a result, Melissa decided to major in environmental studies.
“I hadn’t realized there were job opportunities for people like me
who have a passion for improving the environment. I am very
grateful to Professor Nieter for opening this career path to