Imagine Excellence: The GWS Awards Program

Imagine Excellence, the GWS Awards Program, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in fields associated with research in, administration and management of, and communication about parks, other kinds of protected areas, cultural sites, and related supporting activities.

The five main awards are given every two years at the GWS conferences. In addition, a Special Achievement Award may be bestowed from time to time by the GWS Board of Directors.

The next round of awards will be presented during the 2017 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites, April 2–7 in Norfolk, Virginia. 

The GWS awards consist of a plaque, payment of the winner’s expenses to travel to the GWS conference, and a year’s complimentary membership in the Society.  Peer recognition is high and competition for the awards can be keen.

The awards are:

  • The George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence, given in recognition of lifetime contributions on behalf of the Society or in furtherance of its purposes. This is the Society's highest award, and it is reserved for exceptional achievements in any of the areas with which the GWS is concerned. It is a top-of-career award.
  • The GWS Cultural Resource Achievement Award, given in recognition of excellence in research, management, or education related to the cultural resources of parks, cultural and historic sites, reserves, and other protected areas. This award is generally aimed at mid-career to senior-level accomplishments.
  • The GWS Natural Resource Achievement Award, given in recognition of excellence in research, management, or education related to the natural resources of parks, reserves, and other protected areas. This award is generally aimed at mid-career to senior-level accomplishments.
  • The GWS Social Science Achievement Award, given in recognition of excellence in social science research, management, or education related to parks, reserves, and other protected areas. This award is generally aimed at mid-career to senior-level accomplishments.
  • The GWS Communication Award, given in recognition of excellence in communication, interpretation, or related areas pertaining to the purposes of the Society. This award is given specifically to recognize outstanding efforts in communicating highly technical or controversial park-related subjects to the public in a clear and understandable manner.

 

Please note: you must be a George Wright Society member in order to nominate someone for an award, although the person you nominate does not have to be a member.

 

POSTED October 29, 2016 — The deadline for nominations has passed.  Thanks to everyone who submitted a nomination! 



2017 WINNERS

A mix of accomplishments in policy and practice will be recognized in the 2017 round of Imagine Excellence, the George Wright Society awards program. Our organization’s highest award, the George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence, will go to Loran Fraser, who is retiring at the end of 2016 from his position as senior advisor to the director of the National Park Service. Fraser is recognized for his work in building a progressive agenda for the US national park system by helping transform the National Park System Advisory Board into an expert working group, conceiving of and then directing the National Park Service Second Century Commission, and then taking charge of a new Advisory Board constituted with many Second Century Commissioners, to carry forward the recommendations of the commission, among other achievements.  

The other awardees are:

  • The GWS Cultural Resource Achievement Award, given in recognition of excellence in research, management, or education related to the cultural resources of parks, cultural and historic sites, reserves, and other protected areas. The 2017 winner is Eddie Cazayoux, a principal at the firm EnvironMental Design and professor emeritus of the School of Architecture & Design at Louisiana State University–Lafayette. As an early proponent of environmental design, a lifelong admirer of vernacular architecture and history, and a natural teacher, Cazayoux has had a wide impact on students and on preservation of cultural resources across the Gulf Coast region.
  • The GWS Natural Resource Achievement Award, given in recognition of excellence in research, management, or education related to the natural resources of parks, reserves, and other protected areas. This year’s winner is John Dennis, deputy chief scientist of the National Park Service. Dennis has shepherded the evolution of NPS natural resource policies through decades of rapidly expanding ecological understanding of natural systems, acting as a synthesizer and interpreter of the science behind the policy that guides park managers.
  • The GWS Social Science Achievement Award, given in recognition of excellence in social science research, management, or education related to parks, reserves, and other protected areas. This award goes to Kerri Cahill, branch chief in the planning division of the National Park Service.  Cahill has championed planning and research related to visitor use in parks and protected areas, and was a major driver behind bringing six disparate federal land management agencies  together to form the Interagency Visitor Use Management Council.\
  • The GWS Communication Award, given in recognition of excellence in communication, interpretation, or related areas pertaining to the purposes of the Society. The 2017 winner is Rolf Diamant, adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont. Diamant is recognized for consistently using writing, speaking, and civic engagement to advance national park and protected area conservation, and for providing historical contexts for analyzing current challenges, ideas, and innovations in his writing for The George Wright Forum and elsewhere.

 

Full List of Awardees

GWS Cultural Resources Achievement Award (established 1997; prior to 2009, called the GWS Cultural Resources Management Award)
1997: Rowland Bowers
1999: Jerry L. Rogers
2001: Ann Hitchcock
2003: Denzil Verardo
2005: Nora Mitchell
2007: Nelly Margarita Robles Garcia
2009: Edwin Colón
2011: Ernie Gladstone
2013: Hugh C. Miller
2015: Mark Michel
2017: Eddie Cazayoux

GWS Natural Resources Achievement Award (established 1988; prior to 2009, called the GWS Natural Resources Management Award)
1988: Roland Wauer
1990: Robert Moon
1992: No award given
1995: Robert J. Krumenaker
1997: Russell E. Galipeau, Jr.
1999: R. Gerald Wright
2001: Vincent Santucci
2003: Jerry Mitchell
2005: Linda Drees
2007: Charles van Riper III
2009: Kate Roney Faulkner
2011: David Cole
2013: Robert Winfree
2015: Karen Treviño
2017: John Dennis

GWS Social Science Achievement Award (established 2009)
2009: Robert Manning
2011: No award given
2013: Peter Newman
2015: James Gramann
2017: Kerri Cahill

GWS Communication Award (established 1999)
1999: Tim Davis
2001: Stephanie Dubois
2003: Jeffrey Cross
2005: David Andrews (on behalf of the staff of Common Ground)
2007: Harry Butowsky
2009: Yvonne Menard (in conjunction with colleagues at The Nature Conservancy)
2011: Paul Schullery
2013: Charles Jacobi
2015: Kurt Repanshek
2017: Rolf Diamant

George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence (established 1992)
1992: Jerry F. Franklin
1995: Robert M. Utley, Jean Matthews, William B. Robertson, Jr. (co-winners)
1997: Bruce M. Kilgore
1999: Bryan Harry
2001: Robert M. Linn, Theodore W. Sudia (co-winners)
2002: Boyd Evison
2003: Daniel Lenihan
2005: John Hope Franklin, Jan van Wagtendonk (co-winners)
2007: George B. Hartzog, Jr.
2009: Michael Soukup
2011: Richard West Sellars
2013: Denis P. Galvin
2015: Alan Latourelle
2017: Loran Fraser

Special Achievement Award (occasional; given at discretion of GWS Board)
2001: George J. Minnucci, Jr.
2003: Wesley R. Henry, Jr.
2007: Gary E. Machlis
2013: Vernon C. "Tom" Gilbert