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UMPI Professor nominated for L.L. Bean Outdoor Heroes Award

A University of Maine at Presque Isle professor who has spent more than 50 years working and participating in the Girl Scouts program has been recognized for her dedication with a nomination for the 2011 L.L. Bean Outdoor Heroes Award.

Dr. Suzanne Beaudet, a longtime Professor of Physical Education at UMPI, has been named one of the top 10 finalists nationwide for the award, which was developed to thank those who have dedicated their time to preserving the outdoors, according to L.L. Bean’s website.

From the field of nominees, five will be selected to receive the prestigious Outdoor Heroes Award. The company creates a short video showcasing each nominee that can be viewed on its website. Winners are then selected by online voting, which begins on July 1 and runs through July 31. A $5,000 grant is given in each winner’s name to the organization associated with the nomination.

Dr. Beaudet was nominated by the Girl Scouts of Maine for her work as an adult facilitator. For many years, she has helped adult leaders learn how to work with girls in the outdoors, providing training on everything from camping and nature activities to environmental awareness and conservation.

“What I do is about helping girls to grow and using the outdoors to help them discover themselves,” Beaudet said.

She said she started working with kids in Girl Scouts when she was a kid. She became a Girl Scout in 1958 and began helping out with a Brownie troop when she was 12.

“My next door neighbor’s daughter wanted to be a Brownie and her mother said, ‘I’ll do it if you help me.’ The rest is history,” Beaudet said. “I’ve worked in many different capacities – with Girl Scout camps as staff, and all over the country and Canada at their Girl Guide camps – all my life.”

Beaudet said Girl Scouts gave her a big leg up early in life, and she considers the work she does now as her opportunity to pay it all back.

“In grad school, I taught backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing. They chased me halfway across the country – I was working in Wyoming – and they offered me an assistanceship, so I got those skills from the Girl Scouts. It’s just a wonderful program. I’ve met wonderful people, and I have friends all over the world because of Girl Scouts.”

Girl Scouts of Maine official Christine Burgess has worked with Beaudet for many years and nominated her for the award. When Beaudet received a call from a member of the Girl Scout staff about the good news, she said it came as a complete surprise. This spring, a camera crew filmed an interview and collected footage of Beaudet for her short video, which will debut online on July 1.

Beaudet has lived in Aroostook County since 1981. She grew up in New England, received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1971, and earned her Master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland – College Park. She currently serves as President of the Caribou Chorale Society, and has been a member since 1983. She considers herself a big outdoor enthusiast and, since 2000, has spent countless hours coordinating and participating in the on-course medical coverage during skiing competitions at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle.

In addition to her Outdoor Heroes Award nomination, Beaudet also received a major award from Girl Scouts of Maine this spring – the Honor Award, for the outdoor training and other work she does for the organization.

“It’s nice to know you’re appreciated and it’s always kind of humbling to be singled out,” Beaudet said. “You say the person next to you is doing the same sort of thing and you don’t do this sort of stuff to get recognition, but it’s nice to be acknowledged as a way to say it’s appreciated.”

To view nominees for the 2011 L.L. Bean Outdoor Heroes Award or to cast your online ballot, visit starting July 1. For more information, please contact the Office of Community and Media Relations at 768-9452.