Sun, Aug. 18

Dena Greenwood posthumously receives Norman B. Herkenham Award

Dena Greenwood

Dena Greenwood

Dena Greenwood was posthumously presented the Norman B. Herkenham Award for her work on natural environments, bird habitat and education, by Keep Sedona Beautiful (KSB) at its April 16, 2019 40th annual Native Plant Workshop. The plaque was accepted by her husband, Randy Miller of Rimrock.

Dena began her birding adventures more than 25 years ago, developing bird lists for Slide Rock, Red Rock and Dead Horse Ranch State Parks as an Arizona State Park Ranger. She obtained her graduate degree in environmental biology with an emphasis in ornithology, botany and geology. She conducted bird research for Colorado Plateau Research Station, National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service on the Verde, Colorado and San Juan River corridors. She was a Northern Arizona Audubon Board member and founding member of the Verde Valley Bird and Nature Festival.

Dena was a regular at the KSB Native Plant Workshop, delivering fascinating presentations.

“Imagine this,” said Dena in a 2016 KSB talk, “finally you see it, the faint V-formation high in the last light of day. A flock of wild Canada geese gets closer, and their honking gets louder and louder announcing their passing. You marvel at their beauty and the pink and salmon clouds of sunset. Your day was suddenly transformed into the simple pleasure of being; being part of something much bigger than yourself. For a brief moment in time you witnessed and were part of an ancient cycle of nature - the magic of migration.”

Though the Sedona Wetlands Preserve was conceived more than a decade ago and was helped along by many people, it was Dena’s magic that drew birding enthusiasts to the 27-acre marshland. Dena led invasive species digs there, and native trees and flowers plantings. The Wetlands Preserve has become an international birding hotspot and a great example of ecotourism for Sedona and the Verde Valley. In 2018, more than 190 bird species were seen there. Dena, as gentle as a Western Bluebird, died June 11, 2018, before that year’s count was completed.

Accepting the award, her husband, who was also her biggest supporter and the architect of the large viewing station at the Wetlands Preserve, said, “As I look out over this audience today, I see people she educated, people she inspired. In you her legacy lives on.”

The annual award, begun in 2007, was named for Norm Herkenham who ran the Native Plant Workshop for 20 years. He is called the “Father of the Sedona Trail System.”

Approximately 140 people attended the 40th Annual Native Plant Workshop. To submit a topic for 2020, suggest a keynote speaker or breakout session presenter, please contact KSB. Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc. is committed to protecting and sustaining the unique scenic beauty and natural environment of the Greater Sedona area. For more information about KSB, please call 928.282.4938, or visit