Sheckells, who serves as president of the Friends of Glimmerglass State Park volunteer Board of Directors, was one of the original organizers of that group. The goal of this not-for-profit organization is to increase community awareness and participation through organized events and programs at the park, and to support the mission of the park through fund raising, volunteerism, strategic planning, advocacy, and activities for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.
According to OCCA member Rich McCaffery, who nominated Sheckells for recognition, she has been instrumental in transforming the face of the state park to an appealing and welcoming environment where people of all ages can discover the wonders of nature.
"Karen's husband, Richard Sheckells, became the manager of Glimmerglass State Park and Davis State Park in the spring of 2007 ," wrote McCaffery. "Karen set out to involve others to advance lifelong learning at the park through guided tours, lectures, workshops, and discussions on ways to conserve our environment and protect wildlife. She has provided the leadership for such initiatives as upgrades to the nature trails, the Great American Campout, Yoga on the Beach, the revival of snow tubing (previously discontinued due to cuts in state funding), Wild Wilderness Wednesdays, environmental school programs and many, many other outdoor education opportunities."
Sheckells said it has been great to see Friends of Glimmerglass State Park grow and flourish.
"My husband Rich and I believe environmental education is extremely important," she explained. "Glimmerglass State Park is an excellent resource for outdoor recreation and environmental education. I am fortunate to be in a position to help FOGSP organize and facilitate programs to meet the varying needs of individuals and groups that match our vision.
"The park was developed for public enjoyment and we help to fulfill that mission," Sheckells said. "One of the most practical approaches to program development has been the networking with various community groups throughout the area and availing myself of their educational opportunities," she said. "I'm a staunch believer in lifelong learning and doing what I can to help and direct others to work and contribute to their fullest potential, both individually and collectively."
Sheckells and FOGSP are currently working toward the establishment of a permanent nature center at Glimmerglass State Park to serve as home base for the diverse array of environmental education events at the park, and as a community education resource.
"Environmental education should be paramount to all of us," Sheckells said. "We're the caretakers of the planet and need to ensure that future generations respect and appreciate our natural environment."