Awards & Recognition

Park ranger and two volunteers install post in desert
Awards recognize the contributions of National Park Service employees, volunteers, and partners.

NPS/Jesmira Bonoan

Thousands of employees, volunteers, and partners are committed to ensuring that the National Park System represents America at its best. The men and women who make up the National Park Service embody the spirit of America—dedicated, creative, and hard-working people who care passionately about preserving the lands and cultures that epitomize our shared American heritage.

We're proud of our employees and those who work with us, their dedication and their amazing diversity of skills and talents. It is our privilege to recognize and celebrate their outstanding achievements through awards, such as:

  • Andrew Clark Hecht Memorial Public Safety Achievement Award recognizing employee efforts in prevention of accidents that may cause serious injury or fatalities, innovative achievements to heighten public (visitor) safety awareness, and more
  • Appleman-Judd-Lewis Awards for Cultural Resource Management honoring employees for lasting contributions in the preservation of cultural resources
  • Charles E. Peterson Prize presented jointly by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of the National Park Service, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the American Institute of Architects to recognize the finest set of measured drawings in a college student competition
  • Director's Award for Excellence in Administration and Business Management recognizing exceptional contributions to the National Park Service while serving in a business or administrative function
  • Director's Partnership Awards recognizing National Park Service partners who, through community collaboration and engagement, have achieved outstanding accomplishments in preservation, conservation, education, and interpretation
  • Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award recognizing achievements promoting employee safety and health and contributions toward reducing employee accidents injuries, and fatalities
  • Environmental Achievement Awards recognizing parks and partners who demonstrate exceptional accomplishments toward the overall goal of preservation and protection of the resources under our stewardship.
  • Fire Awards, including the Prevention 52 Award, Rick Gale Leadership Award, and Jeannie Harris Award
  • Freeman Tilden Award recognizing creative and exemplary work that enhances the visitor experience. It is the highest award given by the National Park Service for excellence in interpretation.
  • George and Helen Hartzog Awards recognizing volunteers for the hard work, vast skills, and contributions that lead to development of innovative projects and volunteer involvement.
  • Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award honoring employees for outstanding service in traditional ranger duties such as search and rescue, emergency assistance, and protecting visitors and park resources. It is named for the man considered to be the first national park ranger.
  • Exceptional IT Service Awards recognizing exemplary work, innovative thinking, and dedication in the performance of IT service in the NPS
  • Interpretation's Achieving Relevance Awards, including the Interpretive Team Award; Interpretive Media and Technology; Education; Public Engagement and Resource Stewardship; and Interpretive Safety, Health, and Wellness
  • James V. Murfin Award recognizing an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the partnership between the National Park Service and cooperating associations
  • John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in Park Archaeology recognizing the achievements of NPS staff or a partnership researcher in the exceptional execution of a specific project within a unit or units of the National Park System and achievements of NPS staff with exceptionally distinguished long-term service
  • National Accessibility Achievement Awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments within the National Park System that result in greater opportunities for persons with disabilities
  • Natural Resource Awards honoring accomplishments in six categories: Excellence in Natural Resource Stewardship, Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship, Natural Resource Management, Professional Excellence in Natural Resources, Excellence in Natural Resource Research, and the Trish Patterson Student Conservation Association Award for Natural Resource Management in a Small Park
  • Sequoia Award recognizing individuals whose efforts have had a sustained, positive impact on the profession of interpretation
  • Wes Henry National Wilderness Stewardship Award recognizing outstanding contributions to wilderness stewardship by an individual or group

Last updated: April 27, 2018