February 2, 2024

Maurice Cullen Selected as Recipient of the 2024 Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation announced Maurice Cullen as the 2024 recipient of the Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award, a peer-nominated award, as part of the 14th annual Winter Wildlife Festival. The award, presented on Jan. 28, honors individuals in our community who contribute by celebrating, advocating and educating individuals about local wildlife.

Cullen has worked quietly for decades to share his vast knowledge of native wildlife and the environment to educate and inspire people of all ages. He is a celebrated classroom teacher who has engaged hundreds of middle-school students through hands-on activities, including the creation of a Butterfly Garden on the campus of Virginia Beach Middle School. This garden continues to serve as a living classroom where students can learn first-hand about the lifecycle of the butterfly.

“Maurice is a gem of a teacher,” said Mary Reid Barrow, after whom the award is named. “He brings the insect world alive to grown-ups and students alike, and his enthusiasm is contagious!”

In 2016, Cullen was named the Virginia Lottery Super Teacher of the year, and in 2018, he was awarded the Garden Club of America’s Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Fund for Environmental Education by the Virginia Beach Garden Club. He has also served as the president of the Butterfly Society of Virginia, as he is the go-to expert on insects of all kinds, even liverworts!

For more about the Winter Wildlife Festival, visit winterwildlifevb.com.

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation strives to promote healthy lifestyles and protect the City's coastal environment, as well as to ensure all residents – regardless of their physical, social and economic circumstances – can access Parks & Recreation programs. The department's vision is to be the national leader in providing enriching and memorable lifelong experiences. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is the 2023 National Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in Parks and Recreation Management in the Class I category by the American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.

Maurice Cullen (left) receives the 2024 Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award from Parks and Recreation employee Katie Webb (right).

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