Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott Receives Prestigious Award
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Mary Gibson Scott, superintendent of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, was recognized for her exemplary leadership in addressing environmental issues and concerns during the annual George B. Hartzog, Jr. Environmental Awards Program ceremony at Clemson University. Scott received the 2013 Fran P. Mainella Award for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in the management of North America's natural, historic or cultural heritage, during a luncheon event on Monday, October 7 in South Carolina.
Individuals selected for the George B. Hartzog, Jr. Environmental Awards Program must meet several criteria in the field of conservation management and education. The award program recognizes leaders who have demonstrated significant achievements in support of environmental matters, and honorees are given one of six awards named for education and conservation leaders: William C. Everhart, Robert G. Stanton, Fran P. Mainella, Benton H. Box, Dwight A. Holder, and Walter T. Cox. William "Bill" Everhart was a National Park Service (NPS) historian and creator of the NPS' Harpers Ferry Center for creative design and communication; Robert "Bob" Stanton served as the first African-American and 15th director of the NPS from 1997-2001; Fran Mainella became the first woman and 16th NPS Director from 2001-2006; Benton Box served as Dean of the College of Forest and Recreation Resources at Clemson; Dwight Holder served as chairman of the South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism Commission; and Walter Cox served as the 10th Clemson president.
Superintendent Scott was recognized for her numerous accomplishments in managing one of the most beloved and high-profile national parks. The Fran P. Mainella Award noted that Scott became superintendent of Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway in 2004, after serving nearly 25 years in NPS positions across the country. As part of the NPS' Senior Executive Service (SES), Scott is just one of 10 senior park managers—and currently the only female SES superintendent—in the 401-unit National Park System. The Mainella Award acknowledged Scott for bringing several major capital projects to completion, totaling approximately $150 million. These projects included: construction of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, the park's premier visitor facility; the conveyance and public opening of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve; and renovation of Grand Teton's headquarters campus through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to reduce the park's deferred maintenance. Scott was also lauded for advancing critical land acquisitions, such as Wyoming school trust lands, and for directing more than a dozen National Environmental Policy Act planning efforts, including the Bison & Elk Management Plan (2005, 2007), Transportation Plan (2007), and Snake River Management Plan (in progress). The award also noted that Scott initiated and facilitated a comprehensive environmental impact statement for the Jackson Hole Airport and helped secure mitigation measures for protection of park resources. Scott was also recognized for serving as the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) chairperson for two years, recent chair of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee for the GYCC Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, and for currently serving on the National Leadership Council: a body of Park Service managers that meets to achieve coordination on significant issues facing the NPS. In addition, Scott was credited for working with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation in support of a $13M public-private partnership project, the Jenny Lake Renewal plan, conceived and designed to renovate the single-most visited park location and highlight the upcoming 2016 NPS Centennial.
The Environmental Awards Program at Clemson is named for George B. Hartzog, Jr., a dynamic and effective leader who served as the 7th director of the NPS from 1964-1972. His administration led the largest expansion of the National Park System, adding 69 units. His major goals as director were to expand the system to save important areas before they were lost, to make the system relevant to an urban society, and to open positions to people who had not previously had much access to them, especially minorities and women. Although Hartzog passed away in June of 2008, his extensive work on behalf of the National Park Service is legendary.
On hand at the recent awards ceremony at Clemson University were Gary E. Everhardt, the 9th director of the NPS from 1975-1977 and Ronald H. Walker, who followed George B. Hartzog, Jr. as the 8th NPS director from 1973-1975. Walker has also served on the board of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation for several years and is a part-time resident of Jackson Hole.
Among the other parks leaders and researchers honored at George B. Hartzog, Jr. event were renowned ecologist and geographer Lee Talbot, recently retired Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis, and South Carolina State Park Service Director Phil Gaines.
Clemson's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management gives out the George B. Hartzog, Jr. awards annually.