Director's Natural and Cultural Resource Award Winners

large group of people hold awards up in a large conference room
The recipients of the Director's Natural and Cultural Resource Awards for 2015, 2016, and 2017 were honored in a ceremony Sept. 19, 2018.

NPS photo by Geoff Livingston

The National Park Service has the best people! Volunteers, interns, partners, contractors, and employees work hard everyday to protect our Nation’s natural and cultural treasures. But some people go above and beyond the call of duty to manage the land, water, air, and artifacts in innovative, creative ways. They set a fine example of using scientific research to make informed management decisions.

On Sept. 19, 2018, we honored the recipients of the Director’s Natural and Cultural Resource Awards for 2015, 2016, and 2017. These 27 individuals serve as an inspiration to us all. Their accomplishments range from improving human-bear interactions to preserving historic battlefields to creating a Wildlife Shepherding program (with one of the cutest dogs in the world, Gracie! - check out her Instagram feed).

Natural Resource Management

2015 - Greg Schroeder, Chief of Resource Management, Wind Cave National Park, for his leadership in establishing conservation bison herds to ensure their presence across North America.
2016 - Mary Kay Watry, Conservation Biologist, Rocky Mountain National Park, for her work on many important issues including black bear management and greenback cutthroat trout restoration.
2017 - Kerry A. Gunther, Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park, for his work with Yellowstone grizzly bears that eventually resulted in their removal from protection by the Endangered Species Act.

Natural Resource Research

2015 - Dan Duriscoe, Physical Scientist, Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, for creating innovative sky quality measurement tools.
2016 - Darcy Hu, Senior Science Adviser, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, for her contributions to the advancement of science and stewardship in the Pacific West Region.
2017 - Sherman “Shan” L. Burson III, Acoustic Ecologist, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, for his dedication to understanding the effects of motorized transportation in national parks.

Professional Excellence in Natural Resource Stewardship

2015 - Curtis E. Deuser. Supervisory Ecologist, Lake Mead Exotic Plant Management Team, for being a trailblazer in the treatment of invasive plants, both inside and outside national parks.
2016 - Patrick Malone, Assistant Regional Director, Natural Resources, Intermountain Regional Office, for his efforts to integrate natural resource planning, engage youth through programs like Geoscientists in the Parks, protect dark skies, and improve training opportunities for natural resource staff.
2017 - Mark J. Biel, Natural Resources Program Manager, Glacier National Park, for developing a wildlife shepherding program with the help of his dog, Gracie, to keep park visitors and wildlife a safe distance apart.

Excellence in Natural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance

2015 - Dwayne Moates, Facilities Manager, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, for his 16-year commitment to prioritizing sustainable water and energy use.
2016 - Michael Pieper, Project Manager, Yosemite National Park, for serving as construction supervisor for the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
2017 - Ronald H. Goff, Electrician, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, for being a champion of natural dark.

Trish Patterson Student Conservation Association Award for Natural Resource Management in a Small Park

2015 - Marc Albert, Stewardship Program Director, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, for restoring the natural and cultural landscapes of Grape and Thompson Islands.
2016 - Karl Zimmermann, Operations Manager, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, for developing a natural resources management plan for a new unit of the National Park Service.
2017 - Rolando L. Garza, Archeologist, Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, for his commitment to restore the core battleground area to the broad open prairie setting similar to the 1846 landscape.

Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship

2015 - Michael M. Ward, Superintendent, Voyageurs National Park, for his efforts to improve air quality in the region.
2016 - Hugh J. Hawthorne, Superintendent, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, for his support of critical restoration and erosion controls following the Miller Fire of 2011.
2017 - Lizette Richardson, Superintendent, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, for her vision in protecting water as a key resource.

Appleman-Judd-Lewis Awards

Superintendent of the Year for Cultural Resource Stewardship

2015 - Kirsten Talken-Spaulding, Superintendent, Fort Monroe National Monument, for her commitment to community engagement and developing partnerships to benefit the 565-acre national monument.
2016 - Melissa Cobern, Superintendent, George Washington Memorial Birthplace National Monument and Thomas Stone National Historic Site, for using innovative methods to connect visitors to obscure stories.
2017 - James Woolsey, Superintendent, Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Coltsville National Historical Park, for leading the landscape transformation of Armory Square and overseeing the the transfer of the highly significant gun collection from the US Army to the NPS.

Excellence in Cultural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance

2015 - Gary Stellpflug, Trails Foreman, Acadia National Park, for his efforts to advance Acadia’s trails program.
2016 - Joseph "Dan" McCarthy, Gardener Supervisor, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, for advancing the field of cultural landscape preservation, especially in tree care.
2017 - Steve Walasewicz, Facility Manager, Saint Gaudens National Historic Site and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, for the historic preservation of buildings, utilities, roads, trails, and landscapes at both parks.

Excellence in Cultural Resource Management

2015 - Greg Burtchard, Archeologist, Mount Rainier National Park, for his achievements in researching, understanding, protecting, and managing park cultural resources.
2016 - Timothy Davis, Historian, Park Historic Structures and Cultural Landscapes, for authoring National Park Roads: A Legacy in the American Landscape, which chronicles the history of national park roads.
2017 - Marilou Ehrler, Chief of Cultural Resources, Gateway National Recreation Area, for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts as well as developing a design to rehabilitate Barrack Building 23.

Last updated: September 25, 2018