From the nomination letter:

2013 Athena Award winner, Emmy-award winning forest health documentary producer, broadcaster, public relations professional, Quaking Aspen children’s book author and Flagstaff Festival of Science coordinator Bonnie Stevens has long used her writing, organizational and leadership skills to educate audiences about science and connect scientists and their work with the general public. In 2013, she continued her efforts to shine the national spotlight on Flagstaff’s scientists, research and discoveries in an effort to promote awareness, understanding and knowledge, while cultivating tomorrow’s scientists, encouraging solutions to global problems, impacting lives and showcasing Flagstaff as a community that values science and education.

In 2013 and for more than 20 years, Bonnie’s leadership efforts have been instrumental in promoting public science education and Flagstaff’s scientific contributions to the world through numerous efforts:

  • Flagstaff Festival of Science (19 years as coordinator)
  • Brain Food – KNAU – Arizona Public Radio (weekly science program host/producer)
  • Forests Under Fire (documentary and classroom tool)
  • Science Education News Articles
  • Science Education Television and Youtube Packages
  • Communications Workshops for Scientists
  • Quaking Aspen children’s book in libraries nationwide
  • Camp NiZhona (30-minute science education video camp series for kids)

“Our ability to apply scientific knowledge to solve global problems facing our society is largely dependent upon how well the science and the challenges we face are understood by the public. As scientists, we depend on communicators who have a passion for learning about what we do, the interest in sharing that information to the public and the ability to explain it in such a way that people understand the relevance of science in their lives. Bonnie Stevens is such a leader in science education. As we face major global concerns in public health, public safety and climate changes, Bonnie has been following northern Arizona’s scientists for decades, taking the time it takes to understand the importance of their work and skillfully crafting news reports in print, radio and television formats that reach the masses. In addition, through her leadership with the Flagstaff Festival of Science, she has brought scientists together for the purpose of sparking interest in science and discovery with the next generation. Like no other, Bonnie has showcased Flagstaff as a community that is rich in scientific knowledge and research, and one that values science and the cultivation of tomorrow’s scientists.”
—- Paul S. Keim of TGen, NAU Regents’ Professor of Biology, Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology

Flagstaff Festival of Science, Extreme, Sept. 20 – 29.

Ultimately, there is no one in Flagstaff who has united, led and focused the scientific community like Bonnie to shape, guide and offer the nation’s longest running, free science festival, promoting science education to the general public as the Flagstaff Festival of Science coordinator. The 2014 festival will mark 20 years for Bonnie as coordinator! As the award-winning Festival heads into its milestone 25th year, Bonnie’s leadership has been instrumental in shaping the Festival into a model for cities across the state and the nation that are creating their own events for public science education.

Through her leadership, the Flagstaff Festival of Science–10-days of science activities that are free and open to all–has emerged as the science education event in northern Arizona that demonstrates to the world Flagstaff is a place of discovery. This Festival has evolved into an event that changes lives and impacts the future. In 2012, the Festival was honored as the Viola Award Event of the Year. In 2013 the Arizona Daily Sun called the Festival “one of the city’s premiere events” and named it “Organization of the Year.”

“I’m very pleased to support the nomination of Bonnie Stevens for the 2014 Viola Award. As a former President of the all-volunteer Board of Directors for the Flagstaff Festival of Science, I have worked with Bonnie and have witnessed her ability to bring people together, harness their excitement for science and scientific discovery, and package it into an award-winning Festival that is one of Flagstaff’s signature events. The ability to manage a team of volunteers who are themselves science educators is one of Bonnie’s strongest qualifications for this award. This type of leadership involves building consensus around shared values, setting goals and milestones to reach those goals, and recognizing that team accomplishments are just that and not the result of a single person’s actions. Bonnie’s “guide on the side” leadership has helped our Board to focus its science education efforts and energy where they will have the strongest impact, which is critical to our success in delivering the Festival each year. Her leadership will be especially important as we enter our 25th year of connecting and inspiring the citizens of northern Arizona, especially our youth, with the wonders of science and the joy of scientific discovery.”
—Winnie Ennenga, Past Board President, Flagstaff Festival of Science

The 2013 Flagstaff Festival of Science reached more than 15,000 people – mostly youth – with science education. In keeping with theme: Life in the Extreme, the Festival transported its audience to Mars for rover expeditions and other extreme environments such as the polar icecaps, deep into the sea and inside the human body. The 2013 Festival offered more events than ever before (more than 80!) and reached new attendance records with more than 15,000 participants.

“The festival simply would not happen without Bonnie’s guidance and energy.”  
Jane Rodgers, Deputy Chief , Science & Resource Mgmt., Grand Canyon National Park, 2013 Festival of Science Board of Directors

KNAU Brain Food

Through her enthusiasm for the science research occurring in northern Arizona, Bonnie proposed (in 2013) and currently is producing a weekly radio program airing on KNAU Arizona Public Radio, called Brain Food. The two-minute program highlights insights and discovery from scientists such as Dr. Tom Whitham, who’s demonstrating the difference one or a few genes can make in the survivability of a species; Dr. Paul Keim, whose work with dangerous pathogens solves mysteries like the deadly anthrax mailings and who traces disease outbreaks to their sources, such as the Haitian cholera outbreak; and Dr. Robert Kellar, who is teaching plants how to grow human skin:

Forests Under Fire Documentary and Teaching Tool

Bonnie’s Emmy-award winning 30-minute television PBS documentary Forests Under Fire: The Race to Restore the American West, which showcases Flagstaff scientists and informs about the world-class research in forest health and climate change, is used as a teaching tool in high schools and colleges (like Bryan Bates’ Coconino Community College science classes) and across the country.

Science Education News Articles

Bonnie contributes science education news articles to the Arizona Daily Sun, and Flagstaff Business News, which aid in the understanding and awareness of complex issues and science research. The article, “Growing Human Skin and Jobs from Bok Choy,” for example, appeared in the September issue of Flagstaff Business News, and in July 2010, the Arizona Daily Sun featured “Coffee from Cat Scat?”

Science Education Television and Youtube Packages

Bonnie showcases Northern Arizona University’s internationally important School of Forestry science research contributions through television (Inside NAU, Arizona network affiliated stations, CNN and the Weather Channel) such as the 2010 “Beetle Mania” story and youtube video presentations

Communications Workshops for Scientists

She also conducts media workshops for scientists to help them better communicate with the public (and through the media) about their work and its relevance in solving world problems. Clients include the ERI at NAU, School of Forestry, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Forest Service and others.

This high-energy, enthusiastic Flagstaff business professional has a passion for science education and possesses a unique ability to unite scientists, motivate volunteers, promote science and inspire the next generation of scientists, while encouraging lifelong learning in people of all ages and serving as a role model for young women. Thus, Bonnie Stevens has demonstrated extraordinary science education efforts in 2013 to reach large audiences through the media, science education events and in classrooms.

Camp NiZhona (30-minute science education video camp for kids)

During her seven years with the Coconino National Forest, Bonnie produced a television science education series about kids teaching kids about science in the forest. (1990-1992)


  • 2013 Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Annual Athena Award
  • 2013 Flagstaff Cultural Partners Viola Awards Nomination – Leadership
  • 2012 Rocky Mountain Emmy Award – Forests Under Fire – Special Program Producer
  • 2012 Flagstaff Cultural Partners Viola Awards Nomination – Leadership
  • 2011 Flagstaff Cultural Partners Viola Awards Nomination – Literature
  • 2010 Rocky Mountain Emmy Nomination – Let’s Restore the American West PSA
  • 2010 Society of American Foresters Outstanding Contribution to Forestry from Outside the Profession
  • 2008 Coconino Community College Outstanding Employee of the Year for Leadership
  • 2007 Athena Awards nomination (business, leadership and mentor of young women)
  • 2004 Northern Arizona Book Festival, featured author of the children’s book Quaking Aspen