The George Wright Society Awards Program
2009 Award Winners Named (posted 8 December 2008)
The 2009 GWS Award winners were named in November. This year, a new award has been added to the roster. Recognizing the increasing importance of the social sciences to park research, management, and education, the GWS Board has created a Social Science Achievement Award. The 2009 winners are described below. They will receive their awards at a joint GWS/NPS Awards Banquet at the historic Governor Hotel in downtown Portland on Thursday evening, March 5, as part of the 2009 conference.
- The 2009 George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence, the Society’s highest honor, will go to Michael Soukup. He is being cited for his distinguished and sustained achievements in bolstering science within NPS, including his leadership in resource inventories and monitoring, exotic plant management, Research Learning Centers, CESUs, and, of course, the Natural Resource Challenge.
- The 2009 GWS Cultural Resource Achievement Award will be given to Edwin Colón, who leads preservation/masonry crew at San Juan National Historic Site's Lime Laboratory and Workshop. Colón is recognized for helping make the crew the leaders in the field of traditional lime masonry, whose knowledge and skills are request locally, nationally, and internationally.
- The 2009 GWS Natural Resource Achievement Award goes to Kate Roney Faulkner of Channel Islands National Park. Faulkner is being cited for her leadership, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, to ecologically restore Santa Cruz Island at Channel Islands National Park.
- The inaugural GWS Social Science Achievement Award is going to Robert Manning of the University of Vermont.
- The 2009 GWS Communication Award will be received by Channel Islands' chief of interpretation, Yvonne Menard. She is being recognized for her leadership in designing a public communications strategy to explain the complex issues surrounding ecological restoration within Channel Islands National Park.
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 on Thursday, March 5, 2009, at the Awards Banquet during the next George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. (The banquet will be jointly sponsored by the GWS and the National Park Service, and the NPS Director’s Awards for Natural Resources will be presented there as well.)
The GWS awards themselves are modest, consisting in each case of a plaque, payment of the winner’s expenses to travel to the GWS conference, and a year’s complimentary membership in the Society. However, 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
- The 2007 George Melendez Wright Award for Excellence, the Society’s highest honor, went to George B. Hartzog, Jr. Hartzog was cited for his leadership as the seventh director of the National Park Service. During his tenure, Hartzog gave new emphasis to scientific research in support of natural resource management and reached out to under-represented and under-served groups, among many other accomplishments.
- The 2007 GWS Cultural Resource Management Award was received by Nelly Margarita Robles Garcia, widely regarded as the “mother” of cultural resources management in Mexico. An archeologist with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History), Robles has been a tireless and effective advocate for a resource management approach to the cultural heritage of Mexico and Latin America.
- The 2007 GWS Natural Resource Management Award went to Charles van Riper III of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Sonoran Desert Station. Throughout his career, van Riper has conducted research that provides information needed by protected area managers to make informed decisions. A successful field scientist, author, editor, conference convenor, and ombudsman, van Riper’s work has had a marked impact on the quality of resource protection in the National Park Service and beyond.
- The 2007 GWS Communication Award was given to NPS historian Harry Butowsky. He has been webmaster for the agency’s history website since 1999, and through his personal efforts the site has become a major repository for information about NPS. Butowsky has made the full text of more than 2,000 documents, including numerous rare publications, available to the public on the site.
- In addition, a 2007 GWS Special Achievement Award went to Gary E. Machlis, a professor at the University of Idaho and visiting senior scientist to the National Park Service. A sociologist, Machlis was cited for his scholarly achievements in studying the social context of protected areas, for his instrumental efforts in establishing the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network, and for helping to design and establish the highly successful Canon Parks Science Scholars Program.
You can download a PDF of the conference banquet program containing full citations of these awards, as well as those of the 2006 NPS Director's Awards for Natural Resources and an Honorary Park Ranger Award that went to former Vice President Walter Mondale all were given at a joint NPS/GWS Awards Banquet at the 2007 conference.
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
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
GWS Social Science Achievement Award (established 2009)
2009: Robert Manning
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
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
Special Achievement Award (occasional; given at discretion of GWS Board)
2001: George J. Minnucci, Jr.
2003: Wesley R. Henry, Jr.
2007: Gary E. Machlis