Recognizes an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution at a state, regional or national level, furthering the goal of a system of state parks. This year's award winners are:
Californians for State Parks and Wildlife Conservation - When times get really tough, we learn about our true friends. Californians for State Parks and Wildlife Conservation is a coalition formed by the California State Parks Foundation, Save-the-Redwoods League, The Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society to provide for a stable, independent and reliable funding source for CSP by developing, qualifying and eventually passing a citizen's initiative on California's November 2010 ballot. This measure, if adopted by the people, would eliminate CSP's reliance on California's General Fund, would impose a surcharge on vehicle registrations and would grant free day-use access to state parks. The members of the coalition are all long standing CSP partners and have historically been instrumental in furthering the growth and promoting the health of California's state park system. In 2009, these groups responded to on-going threats of closure of state parks by forming a coalition to give voters an opportunity to approve a dedicated state park funding source intended to avoid future conflict over the allocation of General Fund resources. Drawing on earlier work by CSP's Blue Ribbon Committee on Fiscal Sustainability and on then-State Assembly Member John Laird's legislative proposals, the coalition launched polling efforts and convened focus groups to determine the political feasibility of a surcharge on California's vehicle license fee. Californians for State Parks and Wildlife Conservation has made extraordinary contributions furthering the protection, preservation and operation of California's state park system.
Missouri Governor Jeremiah W. "Jay" Nixon- It's always good to have friends in high places. Gov. Nixon's establishment and support of the State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC) has been and continues to be a tremendous asset to the Missouri state park system in a time when state park systems are struggling. In 2010, the Missouri state park system welcomed a revival of its state parks and historic sites unprecedented since work by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Gov. Nixon, using funds from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), launched the State Parks Youth Corps to provide valuable work experience for youth ages 17 to 24, while enhancing Missouri's 85 state parks and historic sites. Approximately 1,000 positions are federally funded between May 1 and Sept. 30 with $3.3 million of ARRA funds.
After the SPYC was launched in February, Gov. Nixon personally began traveling across the state for personal appearances, bringing attention to the program and encouraging youth to take advantage of the opportunity. His support and his personal attention are part of an overall effort to improve the state park system and raise its profile with Missourians while bolstering the tourism industry in Missouri. At a time when budgets are lean and the economy is struggling, the SPYC provides assistance not only for state parks and historic sites but also for the individuals participating in the program. For state parks, it provides labor and experience to complete projects that current staff do not have the time or opportunity to do. For the participants, it gives them summer employment and in some cases opens a new world of experience and possibilities for them to "Think Outside."
PARK HISTORY AWARD
Recognizes an individual, team, academic institution or organization that displayed outstanding efforts in original research and presentation of state park history that results in a tangible work product.
Ney C. Landrum - Some people have a knack for creating history and others the ability to bring it to life, still others somehow manage to do both. Ney Landrum, who served as Florida's state park director from 1970-1989, is credited as being the father of the Sunshine State's modern state park system. The only person' ever to be bestowed the distinction of Director Emeritus of the Florida state, park system also holds the title of longest serving director. Ney's legacy is found not only in his -written works, but also in his relentless pursuit of excellence, theenduring state parks philosophy he instilled and the remarkable system of lands he assembled during his tenure. Ney's prolific research on state parks is manifested in three principal works, two of which are published in book form and one yet to be published. His books, Histories of Southeastern State Parks Systems, published in 1992, and The State Park Movement in America: A Critical Review, published in 2001, trace the evolution of the state parks idea throughout the United States. His recently completed manuscript, A Legacy of Green, chronicles the making of Florida's state park system. It is both a detailed account of Florida's state parks since the 1890s and a fascinating personal memoir. Written in part to commemorate the system's 75th anniversary, it tells the story of the people and events that shaped Florida's state parks.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD - Ruth Coleman, California
Recognizes a state park director who has demonstrated a long-term sustained record of professional accomplishment in the field of parks and recreation management. Each year, the identity of the recipient is revealed at the annual awards banquet.
BEAR TRAP AWARD - Roger Kuhn, Nebraska