Instructor named semi-finalist for Volunteer of the Year

Springfield, MO (April 13, 2010)- Abigale Ehlers, Missouri State University instructor of hospitality and restaurant administration, was selected as an Alliance for Community Trees’ (ACT) top semi-finalist for Volunteer of the Year.

The award highlights inspirational accounts of volunteers in action, and nominations are open to any individual whose volunteer efforts have made a contribution to urban forestry by improving community trees and the neighborhoods in which they are. ACT seeks volunteers who model the ideals of stewardship, giving, professionalism and leadership. One winner is awarded a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with his or her member of Congress.
“I feel the university, through its public affairs mission, is very supportive of faculty members becoming active volunteers in our community,” Ehlers said. “I’m thrilled to be able to participate within my community on environmental issues in general and on trees in particular. I believe that modeling good stewardship of our urban environment to students is very important.”
This award was a result of Ehlers serving as chair of the Tree City USA Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the city of Springfield as the neighborhood representative. The committee served as an adviser to the city on issues impacting the urban forest.
Senior Instructor Abbe Ehlers has been an HRA faculty member since 1991. She currently teaches courses in food preparation, restaurant management, and food and beverage management. She recently developed a course in ecotourism, which will culminate in a weeklong trip to the Yachana Lodge in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. Abbe also serves as the coordinator and principal instructor for Carrie’s a student managed and operated restaurant. Ms. Ehlers is certified in safety and sanitation, responsible alcohol service, and total quality management in education. Prior to joining the HRA faculty, she held positions as a chef, restaurant manager, a catering and events coordinator, and as a consultant on new product development. Ehlers is a past Chair of the Springfield/Branson Chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association and currently serves on the State Board of Directors for that association.
Abbe is active in numerous university, community, and professional service activities. However, she is most proud of her work with environmental and sustainability issues. She was recently appointed to a special task force on building sustainability into the curriculum, where she will investigate the impacts of local agriculture on the economy. She currently serves on the Community Foundation of the Ozarks Environmental Grants Review Committee and the Tree City USA Citizen’s Advisory Board. In 2010, Abbe was honored as a semi-finalist for the national Volunteer of the Year award from the Alliance for Community Trees for her work in Springfield, Missouri, recognizing her as one of the top twenty volunteers in the nation. In 2009, she received the Volunteer of the Year award from Ozark Greenways and, in 2005, Missouri State University honored her with its prestigious Excellence in Community Service Award.
Ehler’s research interests include the study of relationships between local production of food products and culinary markets, cultural cuisine, sustainability and environmental issues in the restaurant industry, and factors leading to student success. She has made numerous presentations to statewide and regional audiences on a variety of topics and has published several papers dealing with student success issues.
Related Resources:
ACT Announces Volunteer of the Year Winner
Missouri State University- Instructor named semi-finalist for Volunteer of the Year