News Release

NYC Plover Project Receives National Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

Man holding an award with Washington Monument in background
NYC Plover Project's Chris Allieri with Hartzog Award

NPS Photo/Rick Jenkins

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News Release Date: August 26, 2022

Contact: Daphne Yun, (917) 282-9393

Queens, N.Y. –Chris Allieri and the NYC Plover Project received the national George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Excellence on Aug. 24 at the ceremony to Celebrate America’s National Parks and the Dedication of Those Who Serve.  

Chris Allieri and the New York City Plover Project received the Hartzog Volunteer Group Award. They educate and engage visitors about piping plovers, a threatened species that nests on Gateway’s busiest beaches. Last summer, the group of 50 Shorebird Ecology Ambassador volunteers, or SEA-VIPs, donated 1,200 hours, made over 7,500 visitor contacts, and launched a new beachfront visitor contact station.  

"What Chris Allieri and the NYC Plover Project have been able to accomplish in their first two years is truly impressive," said Jen Nersesian, Gateway's Superintendent. "They are a great partner, and their passion and commitment to protecting our wildlife makes a real difference on the ground. But perhaps even more important is the impact they have had through outreach, engaging and inspiring so many other members of the public in environmental stewardship. They are a force multiplier."

The George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognize the exemplary contributions that NPS volunteers make to their park and to their community. Nearly 300,000 volunteers contribute more than 6.5 million hours of service annually in national parks, for a value of more than $185 million. George B. Hartzog, Jr. served as the 7th director of the NPS and created the Volunteers-In-Parks program in 1970.

About Gateway National Recreation Area
Gateway is a large diverse urban park with 27,000 acres spanning Sandy Hook in N.J. and Jamaica Bay and Staten Island in N.Y. It offers green spaces, beaches, wildlife, and outdoor recreation, all alongside historic structures and cultural landscapes. It is the 4th most visited National Park Service unit with more than 9.2 million annual visitors. Gateway National Recreation Area was created by an act of Congress on October 27, 1972, with the dream of bringing a National Park service experience to the New York metropolitan area. This year we’re celebrating our past and looking to the future of this amazing urban park.  For more information about Gateway, visit

Last updated: August 26, 2022

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