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Hikers at Snow Mountain Ranch

2022 Distinguished Service Award | Cowiche Canyon Conservancy

Yakima Valley College selected Cowiche Canyon Conservancy as the 2022 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award provides recognition to a community member or organization who provides support to the mission of Yakima Valley College and its students. The selection is made by the President’s Office.

The CCC and YVC share a commitment to education and strengthening our communities with a lengthy history of partnership.

For approximately a decade, CCC and YVC have co-presented the annual Winter Talk Series which explores and raises awareness of current issues related to the Yakima Valley’s environment and ecosystems. This series provides students and the community with access to subject matter experts including YVC faculty, showcasing the expertise of the college’s faculty and advancing the CCC’s mission to protect shrub-steppe habitat and connect people to it through education and recreation.

CCC Executive Director Celisa Hopkins said the partnership highlights the passion both organizations have toward learning and community.

“With collaboration on the Winter Talk Series, and community learning opportunities during guided hikes on CCC trails, together we have cultivated a passion for learning about our local ecosystem, the shrub-steppe,” she said.

YVC students also have benefitted from taking part in undergraduate research conducted on land owned and managed by CCC. These research experiences provide students with powerful hands-on learning opportunities that enhance their education and career aspirations. In addition, YVC faculty regularly provide educational talks and guided walks on CCC lands that focus on a variety of topics related to the local shrub-steppe ecosystem. These activities advance the educational missions of both YVC and CCC as well as the overall quality of life in the Yakima Valley.

“It’s been a fruitful partnership for both organizations, and it is truly an honor to be selected for this distinguished award,” shared CCC Board President Sara Holtzinger.