Delia, Age 3
MEET DELIA LISTER
What matters to you?
For Delia, it’s making a gift that has a lasting impact on the Kansas Association for Conservation & Environmental Education (KACEE).
Delia Lister loves teaching kids of all ages about the environment and wildlife. Sharing in their excitement about the natural world around them brings her joy and reminds her of her own childhood.
Delia Lister is a biologist, environmental educator, wildlife caretaker, Kansan, friend, and compassionate human. She loves teaching kids of all ages about the environment and wildlife. Sharing in their excitement about the natural world around them brings her joy and reminds her of her own childhood.
“My favorite memories of childhood involve spending time outside with people who were the most influential in my life. I loved spending time with my grandma, Louise Hicks, in the garden. Together, we tended to whatever she had growing. She encouraged me to get my hands dirty making mud pies, to go for a ride on my bike, and to simply spend time outside enjoying nature.
Grandma Louise was born during the Great Depression. Growing up during that time period influenced her worldview and her understanding of nature. When she was a child, the backyard garden fed her family, so grandma learned at a young age to value and respect the land. My grandma was not a highly educated woman, but the life lessons she passed on to me were more valuable to me than any found in a book. She taught me to be curious, to be creative, and to love and respect nature.
"My grandma was not a highly educated woman, but the life lessons she passed on to me were more valuable to me than any found in a book."
I was fortunate to have been raised by my grandma from the time I was a little girl until she passed away in 2002 - I was twenty years old and a junior at Pittsburg State University.
One of the last conversations we had was about a class I was taking with this cool professor. In this class, we used field guides as books, and in addition to regular lectures, we got to take field trips and learn about birds and frogs and wildflowers. On the face of it, that might not seem like a significant conversation, but my grandma loved hearing about what was going on in my life, and she got excited about the things that lit a fire inside me. I always felt seen by her, and although she wouldn’t be there to see my career develop into what it is today, I hope she knew that she had inspired me to follow a path that is meaningful to me.
"On the face of it, that might not seem like a significant conversation, but my grandma loved hearing about what was going on in my life..."
That ‘cool professor’ I told my grandma about was Dr. Cindy Ford, and the class was Regional Natural History. At the time, I didn’t know how profound an impact meeting her would have on my next chapter in life. Cindy recognized my enthusiasm for the natural world, helping me foster and grow it into what eventually became my career.
A couple of years later, Cindy introduced me to KACEE. We attended KACEE’s annual conference together, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I had found my home. KACEE is one of the main reasons I am successful in what I do. I think what has been the most impactful are the relationships I have been able to build through the organization. Some of my closest friends and most important professional relationships are with people I met through KACEE.
I have also been fortunate to take some amazing field trips and attend wonderful conferences across the US thanks to KACEE. I believe I am a better teacher and citizen of the planet because of the knowledge I have gained through being part of this organization.
"Some of my closest friends and most important professional relationships are with people I met through KACEE."
My grandma helped me develop a love for nature, and Cindy helped nurture my career. Each of these influential women in my life led me to an organization that supports me and my work in so many ways. KACEE has helped me become the kind of educator who leaves an imprint on students’ lives, just like my grandma and Cindy have had on mine.
I am honoring the memory of my Grandma Louise by including KACEE in my Will— helping to ensure that KACEE thrives into the future, so that others may find their home in environmental education as I have.”
Delia, Age 4
Delia and her Grandma Louise