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Heckert receives N.C. Geological Survey’s Outstanding Earth Science Educator Award

heckert_award_t.jpgBOONE—Dr. Andy Heckert from Appalachian State University’s Department of Geology has received the Outstanding Earth Science Educator Award from the N.C. Geological Survey.

The award was presented Nov. 10 at the annual N.C. Science Teachers Association Professional Development Institute held in Greensboro.

Heckert received a plaque, a one-year subscription to the Journal of Geoscience Education, a map package and a publications collection, and a cash award from the N.C. Aggregates Association and the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. Expenses for Heckert to attend the meeting were offset by the Carolina Section of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists.

The award recognizes the exceptional efforts of North Carolina teachers and educators to inspire learning and interest in the earth sciences.

Heckert is an associate professor of geology and director of Appalachian’s McKinney Geology Teaching Museum. He oversaw development of the Webb Outdoor Geology Laboratory, a handicapped accessible outdoor geological lab that currently contains 35 rock specimens from across the region that is a campus landmark in addition to an educational and outreach facility. A rock wall in Rankin Science Building that provides a geological history of the area and electronic exhibits in Rankin Hall also have been developed by Heckert.

“Literally hundreds of K-12 students visit the Webb Laboratory and McKinney Teaching Museum every year,” wrote Department of Geology chairman Dr. Johnny Waters. “In addition, Dr. Heckert is in charge of an in-house tutoring corps of geology majors who provide support to students taking general education courses in geology. This outreach is an important factor in our expanding enrollment in the department.”

In addition to teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, Heckert regularly leads summer paleontological field experiences to New Mexico, Arizona or Colorado.

Heckert came to the university in 2005 after managing the geoscience collections at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. He holds adjunct positions at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

Heckert has a Bachelor of Science from Denison University, and a Master of Science and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.

For information about the McKinney Geology Teaching Museum go to

Information about the rock garden is online at