Dave Colburn

In this 2019 file photo, former USD 383 school board member Dave Colburn heads back to school to finish a degree at K-State. The Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education recently named an award after Colburn.

A former longtime USD 383 board member and Manhattan-area volunteer recently had a local educational conservation award named after him.

The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education has established the Dave Colburn Green Apple Award.

This award is intended for teachers, students, district administrators and staff members as well as parents in the Manhattan-Ogden school district who engage in educational experiences which have a positive impact on the environmental sustainability efforts of a school and community.

Colburn said becoming the namesake of this award came as a complete surprise to him.

“This came completely out of the blue,” Colburn said.

The association plans to presented the award each year on Earth Day, April 22. Award winners will receive a $300 stipend for materials toward the service project they are working on that supports the association’s Kansas Green Schools program. Examples include projects addressing water quality and conservation, energy conservation, air quality, wildlife habitats, and outdoor classrooms.

Colburn is retired from managing The Pathfinder outdoor supply store in Manhattan — a position he said he got soon after moving to Manhattan to attend K-State in 1976. He said he is humbled by this award.

“I don’t like calling attention to myself,” Colburn said. “I really appreciate what Bill and Erma (Riley) did and the work KACEE does.”

The Bill and Erma Riley family — former owners of The Pathfinder — fund the award, and Colburn said they helped him immensely as he navigated through a new life in Manhattan.

“I learned a long time ago that surrounding yourself with good successful people is a good way to be a good successful person,” Colburn said.

Colburn served on the USD 383 school board for 16 years, including two terms as board president. He said he began his volunteer work with schools by teaching bicycle safety and reading to first graders at Bluemont Elementary when his daughter started school there. He said he also was the site council chairman at Bluemont when the district closed both Bluemont and Eugene Field Early Learning Center due to declining enrollments. He said it was an “honor and a privilege” to serve teachers and administrators and taxpayers of the community.

“The difficult stuff often turns out to be the most rewarding stuff,” Colburn said. “To be part of a team that works through a challenge and comes out the other side.”

Nominations for the Dave Colburn Green Apple Award are due no later than March 31. For more information on nominations or to apply, visit kacee.org/green-apple-award.