Park Pros Honored

Natural Resource Professionals Cited for Actions Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

WASHINGTON – From shaping young scientists to ecosystem advocacy to partnerships within and outside of Federal land management circles, seven National Park Service professionals have been recognized for career efforts to help everyone live up to the mission to protect and preserve national parks for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

“These are the skilled professionals dedicated to natural resources who go above and beyond in performance of their duties, always mindful that the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with care of amazing places we call national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis.

“The awards for our employees are not based on years of service, pay grade or position,” Jarvis said. “They were nominated by other employees from across the National Park Service for the remarkable quality in their work that says ‘this is special.’ And they were right.”

These awards, created in the early 1990s, include a limited edition bronze bison sculpture.

The awards and winners:

  • Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management: Jan Balsom, deputy chief for science and resource management, Grand Canyon National Park because of her ability to stay true to the National Park Service mission as she guides the park and bureau through critical and controversial natural resource issues.

  • Director’s Award for Natural Resource Research: Nathan Stephenson, research ecologist, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks because of his work in forest ecology, global change research and his understanding of the Sierra Nevada ecosystems.

  • Trish Patterson Student Conservation Association Award for Natural Resource Management in a Small Park: Dafna Reiner, biologist, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park because of her development of a long-term vegetative management plan, professional publications and development of partnerships.

  • Director’s Award for Excellence in Natural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance: Douglas Buttery, chief of facility management, Canyonlands and Arches national parks because of his overall leadership and dedication to natural resource management in the parks and the larger Intermountain Region.

  • Director’s Award for Professional Excellence in Natural Resources: Oron “Sonny” Bass, supervisory wildlife biologist, Everglades National Park because of his improvement of the wildlife program at Everglades National Park and, specifically, his role in the design and management of the monitoring and research program for the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow ( Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis ).

  • Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management: David Manski, chief of resource management, Acadia National Park because he shares his wealth of knowledge, expertise and dedication to natural resources in the park with young scientists and for his role as a natural resource ambassador to the Middle East, Oman and China.

  • Director’s Award for Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship: Russell Galipeau, Superintendent, Channel Islands National Park because of his skill in ecology, law and policy and public relations that resulted in dramatic improvement to the overall ecological condition of the park’s Santa Rosa Island.

Read about the award winners and see their photos at