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Shauna Potocky, Park Ranger at Yosemite National Park, has been selected as a recipient of the Pacific West Region 2012 Freeman Tilden Award. The award was created to recognize a National Park Service (NPS) ranger who has successfully developed, revitalized, or delivered a specific interpretive or education program or project in a particularly effective and creative fashion. Potocky was specifically recognized for creating the Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest.
Potocky will represent the Pacific West Region of the NPS in the National Freeman Tilden Award competition. The overall winner will be announced during the National Association of Interpretation Conference to be held in mid-November in Hampton, Virginia. The National Freeman Tilden Award is the highest award a field interpreter can receive.
Potocky created the Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest earlier this year. Due to the popularity and success of the contest, the Gateway Expressions project has become an annual event. The aim of the Gateway Expressions project is to establish a permanent outreach program to gateway communities and increase awareness of, connection to, and relevancy for Yosemite National Park. Potocky helped to build a strong partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), Yosemite Conservancy, local school districts, and the Ansel Adams Gallery. She worked extensively with surrounding school districts and created an annual art exhibition and contest that received over 100 separate student works.
"Gateway Expressions gives people an opportunity to see the remarkable nature of Yosemite through the eyes of today's youth. We see what they value, what they connect to and how important it is to them. It is the perfect reminder for us to continue to work towards protecting nature in Yosemite and in the communities we call home," Potocky remarked.
The next Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest Exhibit will be on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village in Yosemite Valley.
Potocky has worked for the National Park Service four years. Prior to working at Yosemite, she worked for the Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory at the marine science campus for the University of California, Santa Cruz.