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Crystal Owl Awards for Learning & Development Excellence


 

Description, Criteria, and Rules-FY 2010-2011
April, 2011

Award Names

  • The Crystal Owl Award for Training & Development Excellence (Outstanding Individual Effort); also called the "Crystal Owl Award".
  • The Crystal Owl Team Award for Training & Development Excellence (Outstanding Team Effort); also called the "Crystal Owl Team Award".
  • The Crystal Owl Partnership Award for Training & Development Excellent (Outstanding Partner Effort); also called the Crystal Owl Partnership Award".

Award Description

The Crystal Owl Awards for Learning & Development Excellence recognize outstanding contributions to the Servicewide Learning & Development Program of the National Park Service either by an individual employee, by a team of employees, or by a training and development partner. They are non-competitive awards presented by the Chief of the Servicewide Learning & Development Program to worthy individuals and teams of employees.

A premium-select crystal blank (known as the "Large Iceberg") from the Fenton Glass Company in Williamstown, West Virginia, is used for engraving specially designed artwork for the awards. Kim Hildebrand, a graphic artist at the Harpers Ferry Center, created the artwork. The Crystal Owl Award depicts a single owl. The Crystal Owl Team Award depicts a group (team) of three owls/owlets. The Crystal Owl Partnership Award depicts a group (partners) of three owls/owlets. The owl represents these awards due to its historic use within the Learning & Development Community over the years and its association with wisdom. Scanned samples of the artwork are found in Attachment 1.

Stephen T. Mather Training Center maintains a three-year supply of the awards in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and orders new supplies as necessary. A trophy shop in Frederick, Maryland, produces handcrafted walnut bases for the Crystal Owl Awards to sit upon with small brass plates attached featuring the name of the individual receiving the award, his/her place of work, and the date of presentation. Attachment 2 provides further information about the plates.

Each of the five National Park Service Training Centers displays a small Crystal Owl Award exhibit for trainees and visitors to see. These exhibits feature large crystal blanks (known as the "Super Iceberg") of the individual and team awards plus a plaque that explains the purpose of the awards.

Although the Crystal Owl Awards are not monetary-based, the nominee's park, office, training center, or other entity may elect to provide an appropriate monetary award once the review committee indicates the nomination has been accepted and the award granted. The Chief of the Learning & Development Program may elect to attach an appropriate monetary award as well. In all cases, monetary awards are negotiated through the Chief and the nominating site.

Eligibility

(1) Crystal Owl Award: For an individual to receive this award, (s)he needs to have made significant accumulative contributions to the Servicewide Learning & Development Program over a long period of time (five years or more) that have made a positive impact in the development of employees across the Service; or completed a major training and development project that is implemented and clearly impacts the training and development of National Park Service employees in a major, positive manner.

Any National Park Service employee making such contributions to the National Park Service Training & Development Program is eligible for the Crystal Owl Award, including but not limited to parks; Regional/Service Center Training & Development Offices; National Park Service Training Centers; affiliated National Park Service Training Centers; the Washington Training & Development Office; and appropriate training and development partners.

(2) Crystal Owl Team Award: For a team of employees to receive this award, it needs to have completed a major training and development project that is implemented and clearly impacts the training and development of National Park Service employees in a major, positive manner.

Any group of two or more National Park Service employees making such contributions to the National Park Service Learning & Development Program is eligible for the Crystal Owl Team Award, including but not limited to parks; Regional/Service Center Training & Development Offices; National Park Service Training Centers; affiliated National Park Service Training Centers; the Washington Learning & Development Office; and appropriate training and development partners.

(3) Crystal Owl Partnership Award: For a training and development partner to receive this award, it needs to have completed a major training and development project in conjunction with the National Park Service Learning & Development Program that is implemented and clearly impacts the training and development of National Park Service employees in a major, positive manner.

Any private or governmental group making contributions to the National Park Service Learning & Development Program is eligible for the Crystal Owl Partnership Award, including but not limited to universities, training organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other Federal training groups.

Nomination and Selection Process

Recommendations for the Crystal Owl Awards can be made by anyone with appropriate knowledge through a Regional/Service Center Employee Development Officer, Training Manager, Training Center Superintendent, or the Chief of the Learning & Development Program. A memorandum is transmitted to the Chief of the Training & Development Program nominating the individual, team, or partner for the Crystal Owl Award. The memo should be no more than one-two pages in length, and should state clearly and succinctly why the individual, team, or partner should receive the award based on the Selection Criteria as defined below.

The Chief of the Learning & Development Program will send copies of the nomination to one Training Center Superintendent and one Regional/Service Center Employee Development Officer for review. All three individuals must agree that the individual, team, or partner meets the selection criteria and is indeed worthy to receive the Crystal Owl Award.

Members of the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Crystal Owl Review team are:

  • Katherine Hanson, Chief of Learning and Development, Washington Office
  • David B. Dahlen, Superintendent, Stephen T. Mather Training Center
  • Kimberlee Suber, Employee Development Officer, SER

The Chief of the Learning & Development Program will notify the person who submitted the nomination whether or not the award will be granted; once approved, the Chief will work with this person to present the award to the individual, team, or partner at an appropriate time and place.

Selection Criteria and Rules

All nominations should contain supportive narrative no longer than one-two pages indicating which of the criteria listed below are met by the nominee or team to be recognized. Appropriate attachments are encouraged. The exact name(s) of the nominee(s) and park/office(s) should appear on the nomination as they should appear on the base plate. The date and appropriate venue (if any) for presentation should be included. Nominations are to be made at least four months in advance of presentation.

(1) Crystal Owl Award (for an Individual)

The nomination memorandum to the Chief of the Learning & Development Program must clearly demonstrate how the nominee's work has made significant, accumulative contributions to the Servicewide Learning & Development Program over a long period of time (five years or more) and have made a major, positive impact in the training and development of employees across the Service.

OR

The nomination must clearly demonstrate how a recently implemented significant training and development project conceived, planned, and implemented solely by an individual is making a major, positive impact in the development of National Park Service employees.

(2) Crystal Owl Team Award (for a Team)

All nominations must clearly demonstrate how a recently implemented significant training and development project conceived, planned, and implemented by a team of two or more employees is making a major positive impact in the development of National Park Service employees. Each individual identified as a member of the team must have made a significant contribution to the project, not a cursory one. The narrative needs to define each team member's role.

(3) Crystal Owl Partner Award (for a Partner)

All nominations must clearly demonstrate how a recently implemented significant training and development project conceived, planned, and implemented in conjunction with a partner group is making a major positive impact in the training and development of National Park Service employees. The narrative needs to define the partner group's role in the project

Frequency of Awards

The Chief of the Learning & Development Program will announce the award and solicit nominations at least yearly at the start of each fiscal year through e-mail, The Learning Place Website, and other appropriate venues. In general, three to five Crystal Owl Awards, one to three Crystal Owl Team Awards, and one Crystal Owl Partnership Award will be made each year. Nominations may be made at any time. Some years may have no awards presented in some of the categories.

Manner of Presentation

Once a nomination has been approved, the Chief of the Training & Development Program will notify Mather Training Center to prepare the award for presentation with the recipient's name(s), park/office, and date of presentation. A two-month lead-time is required for preparation. A congratulatory letter from the Chief will be mailed through the recipient's unit manager to determine the time and manner of presentation a month ahead of time.

Whenever possible, the Chief of the Training & Development will present the award at a high-profile venue. Secrecy for the award and presentation is desired.

Photos will be taken and information about the awards will be placed and periodically updated on The Learning Place Website.

Approved: Katherine Hanson(sgd)
Chief, Learning & Development Program
National Park Service

October 2010


Attachment 1 – Artwork for Crystal Owl Awards

Artwork for Crystal Owl Individual Award


Artwork for Crystal Owl Team Award


Artwork for Crystal Owl Partnership Award


Attachment 2 – Base Plate Standards

Base plates for the Crystal Owl Awards are to be made by the trophy shop to adhere within the space designed for this purpose. The plate will be a reverse brass engraving, i.e., the plate itself is dark brass and the engraving is bright brass.

Each plate will consist of three lines: (1) the recipient's name in capital letters; (2) the recipient's park or office name in upper and lower case letters; and (3) the date of the presentation in upper and lower case letters. A font resembling Times New Roman (the type being used here) will be used for the engraving at a proper font size. The following example is 10-point in Times New Roman and approximates the actual size of the plate:

Base plate example for the Crystal Owl Awards