Albright-Wirth Grant Program Award Recipients Announced
The Horace M. Albright-Conrad L. Wirth Grant Program (AWGP) is a prestigious developmental opportunity that annually awards funding for personal and career development projects to National Park Service employees. The Learning and Development Office in Washington, in partnership with the National Park Foundation, administers and funds the program. To learn more about the AWGP, please visit the AWGP website at: http://share.nps.gov/awg.
This program would not be successful without our dedicated partnership with the National Park Foundation and the enthusiastic commitment of our volunteer reviewers. This year, our volunteers reviewed over 420 project proposals, containing funding requests totaling $2,788,877. Proposals for the 2013 cycle were extremely diverse, and not only furthered the mission of the National Park Service but also connected with “Call to Action” goals.
The following 33 Albright-Wirth grant proposals were approved for the 2013 cycle:
- Laura Rich Acosta, Fort Pulaski National Monument – Individual Grant Amount: $2,120 – Laura will use her funds to support the completion of her masters in environmental studies from Green Mountain College. She is completing her thesis research, a coyote management plan for the National Park Service. Laura sees the plan as a critical need for the organization, and expects that the completion of her thesis will make her better equipped to assist the agency in a variety of environmental areas.
- Rachel Benton, Badlands National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $1,200 – Rachel will use her funds to photograph fossils at the American Museum of Natural History for a book she is co-authoring on the geology and paleontology of the White River Badlands. Rachel and her co-authors plan to publish the book in 2013 and several photographs of area fossils need to be taken before the book is completed. Rachel expects that the museum’s premier collection of fossil vertebrates will provide the book with a high caliber of images.
- Jessica Browning, Gateway National Recreation Area – Group Grant Amount: $6,192 – Three Gateway National Recreation Area resource stewards will attend technical and adaptive management training courses at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. These courses will target technical skill sets in multiple areas, including resource management, data analysis, and peer-reviewed research. The staff members expect that these skill sets will provide the park with an improved climate change response and enhanced scientific restoration strategies.
- Jessica Bundy, Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $2,230 –Jessica will attend the 2013 Sustainable Trails Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference, hosted by the Professional Trail Builders Association, will provide Jessica with knowledge and skill sets related to trail maintenance and stewardship. Jessica is currently transitioning into a new position with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and is seeking to strengthen her understanding of trail preservation. Ultimately, Jessica aims to provide a higher level of service to the agency by learning new and efficient methods of resource protection.
- Joel Cadoff, Fort Pulaski National Monument – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Joel will use his funding to train with a wet plate collodion photographer and develop a living history program at Fort Pulaski National Monument. Joel hopes to expose a larger audience to the value of photography. The surviving wet plate photographs at Fort Pulaski are an important component of the site’s history, and Joel is looking forward to discussing the creation process of the images with visitors and keeping the art of wet plate photography alive.
- Colette Carmouche, Prince William Forest Park – Group Grant Amount: $4,500 – Funding for this group grant will be used to provide diversity leadership training to five staff members from the National Capital Region’s diversity committee. The staff members will be taught to lead diversity workshops through a train the trainer format and plan to develop their own training sessions for NCR staff in 2013. This training will provide long-term benefits to the agency, as staff members will be able to facilitate their own diversity workshops in the future.
- Leslie Courtright, Zion National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $3,480 – Leslie will use her funding for costs related to a master of public administration degree from Southern Utah University. She expects that this degree will not only enhance her knowledge of the administration of public lands, but also increase her understanding of partnership development and management. Leslie intends to produce professional papers in the fields of cultural resource management and public administration.
- Allison Cryns, Golden Gate National Recreation Area – Individual Grant Amount: $3,400 – Allison will take project management courses through the University of California-Berkeley extension in preparation for the Project Management Professional credential offered by the Project Management Institute. Allison is looking forward to building a career path in sustainable project management that will support her passion for climate change mitigation and renewable energy resources.
- Andrea Dekoter, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park – Individual Grant Amount: $3,471 – Andrea will use her funds to take advanced digital media training courses. As her park site works to expand its digital offerings, Andrea has increasing responsibility for many social media tasks and would like to increase her technological knowledge. She expects that an increase in the use of social media will provide the park with many long-term benefits, including reaching diverse audiences and enhancing the park’s relevancy with the public.
- Cynthia Donaldson, Canyonlands National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $825 – Cynthia will use her funds to upgrade her basic EMT certification to a wilderness EMT certification. Due to the remote region of her park, Cynthia must be able to respond efficiently and effectively to medical emergencies in a wide range of conditions. The wilderness certification course will allow Cynthia to build from her EMT basic knowledge base to better meet the challenges of her remote setting. She will be trained in skills such as using improvised equipment, enduring severe environments, and prolonged patient care.
- Holly Fisher, Washington Support Office – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Holly will use her funds to support tuition costs related to her doctoral degree in leadership in educational administration. Holly plans to utilize her degree to disseminate current research trends and best practices regarding the education of adjudicated youth with park sites and other NPS entities. She plans to assist park sites in conveying to youth the benefits of health and wellness so as to facilitate emotional, academic, and social healing.
- Mary Fisher-Dunham, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – Group Grant Amount: $4,000 – This group grant will provide funds for up to 12 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore employees to receive specialized field botany training. Employees will complete a course offered by the Institute of Botanical Training on the vegetative qualities of flora in the northwest Indiana region. This training will provide employees with the opportunity to learn a unique set of skills, and increase their taxonomical knowledge of Midwest flora.
- Diane Garcia, Casa Grande Ruins – Individual Grant Amount: $848 – Diane will use her funds to complete several courses at Central Arizona College. Diane has over 25 years of experience at the National Park Service but does not have adequate resource knowledge for her work at Casa Grande Ruins. Diane expects that these courses will provide her with specialized knowledge of subject matter histories relevant to her park, and will allow her to provide visitors with an enhanced cultural experience.
- Peggie Gaul, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal – Individual Grant Amount: $884 – Peggie will attend and present at the February Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Conference in Ocean City, Maryland. The grant will allow her to co-present a water quality monitoring project and attend the conference sessions. Peggie has been working with local educators to create and implement a student program in water quality monitoring for local high schools.
- Melanie Gunn, Point Reyes National Seashore – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Melanie will use her funds to complete the conflict resolution certificate program at Sonoma State University’s School of Extended Education. Melanie expects to receive in-depth training in conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution, and hopes to combine her knowledge from this program with her background in natural resources for direct application in environmental conflict resolution.
- Brian Hoduski, Keweenaw National Historical Park – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Brian, the manager of the Lake Superior Collection Management Center (LSCMC), will use his funds to develop a strategic mentoring relationship with the manager of the South Florida Collection Management Center (SFCMC). He expects that the development of a long-term mentoring relationship between the two site managers will have a positive impact on the development and structure of current and future multi-park museum operations.
- Keith Johnston, Acadia National Park – Group Grant Amount: $11,988 – This group grant will provide funds to send four Acadia National Park employees to attend “Negotiation for Senior Executives,” a three day negotiation workshop sponsored by the Harvard Negotiation Project. The workshop will target multiple negotiation skill sets, including effective negotiation preparation, decision-making during negotiations, and dealing with hard bargainers. It is expected that this workshop will provide Acadia with a skilled and knowledgeable staff that is comfortable engaging in negotiations for the park.
- John Kellam, Big Cypress National Preserve – Individual Grant Amount: $2,665 – John will use his funds to take wildlife-related courses at Oregon State University. John currently serves as a biological science technician. The completion of this coursework will allow him to pursue his desired career path of a wildlife biologist. He expects that these courses will not only allow him to improve his skills as a biologist for Big Cypress, but that he will also be able to advance further in the organization and better serve the agency as a whole.
- Bianca Klein, Yellowstone National Park – Group Grant Amount: $12,500 – This group grant will be used for facilitation training for up to 16 Yellowstone National Park employees. The anticipated outcomes of the training are to improve meeting efficiency, form more cohesive teams, and enhance employee communication across divisions and departments. Employees from a variety of divisions will participate in the training, and will work together to form a common model for Yellowstone.
- Joshua Kleinman, Flagstaff Area National Monuments – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Joshua will use his funds to complete a graduate certificate in wilderness management at the University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation. This program will provide Joshua with the knowledge and skill sets to be an effective wilderness manager. He hopes that he will be able to play a larger role in management planning for park wilderness areas, and to broaden his understanding of the large-scale concepts of wilderness management.
- Paone Lee-Namakaeha, Kalaupapa National Historical Park – Group Grant Amount: $12,500 – This group grant will be used to implement a comprehensive “greening” plan for Kalaupapa National Historical Park. One of the core components of the plan is to lay the groundwork for an integrated solid waste management system in Kalaupapa. The proposed “greening” process would produce numerous benefits to the park, including reducing traffic and fuel consumption, lowering air pollution, and increased flexibility in waste handling and disposal.
- Daniel S. Licht, Midwest Regional Office – Group Grant Amount: $8,000 – This group grant will send three Midwest Region resource managers to South Africa to learn about the South African model of wildlife and park management. South Africa is considered to be a leader in wildlife conservation. The NPS will greatly benefit from gaining information on innovative and progressive approaches to wildlife resource management. Group members will consult with local park managers on wildlife management approaches in grassland and savanna areas in fenced parks comparable to those in the United States.
- Ryan P. Maki, Voyageurs National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $2,618.30 – Ryan will use his funds to travel to New Orleans to attend the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography 2013 aquatic sciences meeting. Ryan is an aquatic ecologist at Voyageurs National Park and currently manages the park’s aquatic resources research and mentoring program. Ryan expects that his attendance at the conference will provide many collaborative opportunities, and will also provide him with the most current developments in the field.
- Sam Markson, Everglades National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Sam will use his funds to support tuition costs for a master of natural resources degree from the University of Idaho. He expects that this degree will allow him to be more valuable to Everglades National Park and will allow him to take on more specialized projects in the resource field. He is looking forward to exploring new opportunities in his professional development with his advanced degree.
- Colin Meston, Haleakala National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $2,886 – Colin will use his funds to support tuition costs for his master of natural resources degree from Oregon State University. Funds will support his capstone project, a new vegetation management plan for Haleakala National Park, which will help ensure the health of native Hawaiian plant communities. Colin expects that this project will provide him with a unique opportunity to integrate his botanical field experience with his knowledge of natural resources.
- Sara Minegar, Morristown National Historical Park – Individual Grant Amount: $3,000 – Sarah will attend a week-long session at the Rare Book School, a program designed for professionals working in areas beyond the scope of their academic preparation. Jessica serves as an archivist and is often called upon to provide knowledgeable management decisions impacting her park’s large library collection. Attendance at the Rare Book School will give her the tools and networking capabilities to more confidently approach topics such as bibliographic descriptive analysis, paper analysis, bookbinding, and associated trades awareness.
- Sean P. Murphy, Joshua Tree National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $1,235 – Sean will take a review course in ArcGIS desktop software and will complete ESRI’s technical certification in ArcGIS. Sean expects that this course and certification will allow him to remain current on a wide range of software functions and will help ensure that his site receives optimal GIS guidance. This training will not only provide benefits to Joshua Tree but will also provide opportunities for Sean to advance as a GIS specialist.
- Brett A. Nigus, Katmai National Park & Preserve – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Brett will use his funds for flight training to obtain an instrument pilot rating and commercial pilot certificate. Katmai’s sole pilot will retire in three years, and Brett’s training will allow him to fill this essential role at that time. As the lead wilderness ranger, Brett is responsible for patrolling over three million acres of Alaskan wilderness and is firmly dedicated to resource protection. He plans to volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol in King Salmon, Alaska, to gain more flight experience and to help with search and rescue efforts.
- Andrew Robinson, Gulf Islands National Seashore – Group Grant Amount: $7,743 – This group grant will be used to host a “Street Survival Seminar” for up to 100 law enforcement officials and rangers. The seminar will discuss new and innovative ways for officials to stay safe while on patrol and help officers prepare for dangerous encounters. Due to the lack of funding for quality survival training of this kind, this grant will provide an invaluable and unique training experience to many employees.
- Robert J. Shultz, Fire Management Program Center – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Robert will use his funds for tuition costs for his master of arts in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. He expects that the completion of his degree will improve his ability to perform as a National Park Service fire program review team member. He plans to use his knowledge of organizational challenges such as communication problems, structural issues, and leadership and management performance to enhance the productivity and efficiency of teams.
- Nicholas A. Thompson, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve – Individual Grant Amount: $3,500 – Nicholas will complete a Federal Aviation Association’s instrument pilot rating. He is working towards a commercial pilot’s certificate and has an ultimate goal of flying for the National Park Service in a dual function role as a park ranger and pilot. His Albright-Wirth funds will serve to develop his skills in the areas of piloting and aviation safety, and will ultimately increase his piloting proficiency.
- Melanie Turner, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area – Group Grant Amount: $780 – This group grant will be used to purchase a Spanish language learning program to be used by 12 law enforcement rangers at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Currently there are no Spanish-speaking rangers in the park, which is a detriment to the site due to the large local Spanish-speaking population. The lack of Spanish language knowledge poses safety risks when officials are unable to communicate with the local public in cases of emergency. The acquisition of Spanish-language knowledge is vital to the site.
- Steven Windels, Voyageurs National Park – Individual Grant Amount: $3,305 – This group grant will be used to host a statistical workshop in Ashland, Wisconsin, for six National Park Service employees. The workshop will focus on statistical principles and analysis, as well as the statistical software program “R.” The participating employees expect that the advanced statistical training will allow them to more actively initiate and participate in research and monitoring projects for the agency.
Name: Katherine Callaway