The PA Parks and Forests Foundation Thursday recognized the outstanding service, programs, and exemplary work being done in state parks and forests with the announcement of its 2016 award winners.
“We applaud the dedication of both staff and volunteers in making our park and forest system one of the best in the nation,” said Marci Mowery, President of the Foundation. “To be able to recognize this dedication and to thank those involved for their hard work at our annual banquet is a yearly highlight for us.”
The Award Winners are:
-- Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award: Rob Wonderling. This top honor recognizes an outstanding contribution to the protection and/or enhancement to the park and forest system in Pennsylvania.
-- President’s Award: Greenwood Furnace State Park Complex (Huntingdon County). This award recognizes outstanding citizens or businesses that have made an impact in protecting open space, conservation, outdoor recreation, or volunteerism.
-- Joe Ibberson Government Award: Penn Nursery (Centre County). This award is given to a person or department at any level of government to recognize their work in the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state park and forest system.
-- Park of the Year: Gifford Pinchot State Park (York County). This award recognizes a park for exemplary or innovative work in customer service, education, programming, recreation, stewardship of the natural, cultural, or historic assets, and/or accommodation of special needs of visitors.
-- Forest of the Year: Tuscarora State Forest (Perry County). This award recognizes a forest district for innovative and exemplary work in both forest management and recreation.
-- Volunteerism-Improvement Award: The Ridge Runners of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (Fayette to Cambria county). This award goes to an individual or group who has completed capital improvement projects that benefited the park or forest, and/or users, provided ongoing maintenance or improvements to trails, buildings, etc. or innovatively protected the natural or cultural heritage of the park or forest.
-- Volunteerism-Education Award: Pamela Karhan, Cherry Springs State Park (Potter County). This award recognizes a group or individual who provides ongoing educational support or programming, provides a stewardship message through events and programs, and/or organizes events that support a park and/or gateway community.
-- Volunteerism – Individual Award: Stephen Smetana, Nescopeck State Park (Luzerne County). This award recognizes a volunteer who is actively engaged in a wide range of projects, having logged a significant number of hours in a park or forest, or has developed an innovative volunteer program.
-- Volunteerism – Group Award: SONS (Save Our Native Species) of Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park (Erie County). This award recognizes groups of volunteers that actively engage in a wide range of projects, has logged significant hours in a park or forest, or the group has developed an innovative volunteer program.
-- Young Volunteer Award: Zachary Jones, Gouldsboro State Park (Monroe, Wayne counties). This award is designed to show appreciation of a significant contribution to a park or forest by a person under the age of 25.
This year’s winners will be honored at the 10th Annual Awards Banquet on May 11at the West Shore Country Club in Camp Hill. Sponsorships for awards are still available. Click Here for ticket information.For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.