COLORADO – At an interagency ceremony at the National Association for Interpretation annual conference in Denver the week of November 12, USDA Forest Service employees gathered with their federal land management agency colleagues to recognize the exceptional work of employees in the fields of interpretation and conservation education.
The Forest Service recognizes its employees with the Gifford Pinchot Award and each agency has a special plaque or gift that is given to the awardees. This year, the Forest Service recognized eight regional winners of the award and one winner from research and development. From these nine awardees, a national winner was selected. The work of these awardees enables the agency to engage citizens through world-class visitor services, strengthen local partnerships to address resource issues and cultivate the next generation of Public Land stewards.
The regional winners were:
Region 1- Linda Southall, for her exceptional work for the past 30 years, commitment to community, and the deep connection she makes with audiences of all ages and interests.
Region 2- Julie Coleman, for consistently and tirelessly working to expand the definition of interpretation to include Native American voices. She is a firm believer in the power of hands-on stewardship programs to engage the broad public.
Region 3- Karl Malcolm, for his commitment to public engagement, using his knowledge to delight and engage others while guiding them to appreciate the outdoors, often on his own time.
Region 4- Lesley Williams-Gomez, for her twenty-year Forest Service career and consistent involvement with public and youth education, both around general natural resources and fire prevention/education.
Region 6- Beth Kennedy, for helping to develop, guide, and deliver world class interpretive and educational programming at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area for 24 years.
Region 8- Cheryl Hazlitt, for over 25 years of experience as Forest Service Interpretive Planner, authoring over 75 interpretive/exhibit plans and numerous exhibit and recreation projects.
Region 9- Debra-Ann “D-A” Brabazon, for her compassionate and driven approach to improving local communities’ understanding of the environment and the Forest Service, and investing in developing the environmental educators and stewards of tomorrow.
Region 10- Beverly Levene, for reaching hundreds of youth and visitors with outstanding programming at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, especially in the area of conservation education.
R&D- Becky Bittner, for being a charismatic leader in conservation education, and making meaningful connections with the public. She is known for her communication skills, her approachability, and her creativity and resourcefulness in handling the challenges of teaching in outdoor settings.
Beth Kennedy was selected as the National Gifford Pinchot “Excellence in Interpretation and Conservation Education” award winner.