Walking Mountains to award annual honors at Avon campus | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains to award annual honors at Avon campus

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AVON — Walking Mountains Science Center celebrates another year of major accomplishments with its annual fundraising event, A Taste of Nature, on Wednesday.

This year's theme is "La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life," and the organization will welcome more than 400 guests to its campus in Avon to support its mission and honor Ann Smead and Matt Donovan.

Purchasing a new property on Sweetwater Creek to meet the growing demands of programs, increasing the number of students served during the school year and receiving a $1 million gift to fund a staff professional development endowment are just a few of the many accomplishments that Walking Mountains will celebrate with the most active donors and partners.

"We are grateful for the work Ann Smead and Matt Donovan do on behalf of Walking Mountains, and within our entire community," said Markian Feduschak, president of Walking Mountains Science Center. "It has been another incredible year for Walking Mountains, with significant growth across all of our program areas. We could not continue to achieve such success without the commitment of leaders like Ann and Matt, along with the many others who will be joining us at the event."

ON a Mission

Smead is being honored with the Reach for the Peak Award for her leadership and dedication to education and children. Smead is the co-founder of the Smead Fellows Ph.D. scholarship and a proud Vail Valley resident. A Midwest native and University of Iowa alum, Smead held leadership positions at IBM and Kaiser Aerospace and Electronics. A pioneer and innovator, she was the first female partner in a large Portland, Oregon, commercial real estate management and development firm. Smead serves on the boards of the Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Mountain School, where she served as the chair.

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Smead and her husband, Michael, focus on helping children and supporting education at all levels. They started the Smead Fellows program to provide scholarships to some of the nation's leading Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. candidates in honor of Smead's late husband, Joe Smead. To date, 19 Ph.D. students have become Smead Fellows, and they have additionally awarded four faculty members with Smead Faculty Fellowships.

Donovan, owner of Vail Honeywagon and Colorado University graduate, is receiving the Founder's Stewardship Award for actively demonstrating the Walking Mountains mission of education and stewardship in the community. Donovan is a Vail native and Battle Mountain High School graduate. He grew up exploring Vail's rich natural environment — from Gore Creek where he honed his fly-fishing skills to the Vail Nature Center where he and his friends would learn from the staff about the various wildlife they encounter during their adventures. He took his love of the natural world to the University of Colorado Boulder, where he received a degree in biology.

The Donovan family business, Vail Honeywagon, has been a leader in the local corporate community since 1978 and has been instrumental in the progress of recycling in Eagle County. Donovan joined the company immediately after college and in 2008 become the sole proprietor. Under his direction, the company has expanded into electronic waste recycling, organic waste collection and composting.

Walking Mountains is grateful to the Eagle County community that values its mission to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental sustainability through natural science education. They are looking forward to celebrating another successful year at A Taste of Nature.

For more information about Walking Mountains Science Center, visit http://www.walk ingmountains.org or call 970-827-9725.

More information:

To learn more about Walking Mountains Science Center, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org or call 970-827-9725.