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For Release: Thursday, February 13, 2020

DEC Announces Nominations Now Being Accepted for Stewardship Appreciation Awards

Program to Recognize Dedication and Volunteer Service of Partner Organizations, Individuals, Educational Institutions, and Municipalities

Nominations Accepted through April 30

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting nominations for the inaugural 2020 Stewardship Appreciation Awards, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"Partnerships are invaluable to DEC's efforts to promote outdoor recreation and provide a positive visitor experience," said Commissioner Seggos. "This new awards program will recognize the efforts of volunteers and partners in improvement, outreach, and stewardship projects on state lands, waters, and at DEC facilities."

DEC manages 4.6 million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails, campgrounds, day use areas, and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. These lands provide countless outdoor recreational experiences for the public, while also protecting valuable natural resources. Volunteers and partner organizations are essential to the continued stewardship and promotion of these resources.

Not-for-profit organizations, individuals, educational institutions, and municipalities with formal agreements with DEC are eligible to apply. Nominees must be in good standing with DEC and New York State Environmental Conservation Law for the past three years. Nominees must have one of the following formal agreements with DEC:

  • An active Volunteer Stewardship Agreement (VSA);
  • A current Memorandum of Understanding;
  • A current Use and Occupancy Agreement; or
  • Proof of organized volunteer activities on State lands.

DEC encourages those who meet the eligibility requirements and are committed to improving lands, waters, and facilities including, but not limited to, forest preserves, state forests, conservation easements, wildlife management areas, and environmental education centers to submit a nomination.

Examples of projects completed by volunteers and partners include:

  • Rehabilitation of trails;
  • Restoration of historic buildings, structures, or other interpretive structures related to the conservation of natural resources; and
  • Promoting environmental education efforts for the public, for example, Leave No Trace and outdoor safety principles, natural resource stewardship efforts, and outdoor recreational programming.

Completed nominations for the 2020 awards must be submitted by Thursday, April 30. Award winners will be announced in September. Additional information about the award program, including a 2020 nomination form, can be found on DEC's website. Nomination forms can also be requested via email to, or by writing to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Adventure NY, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1010.

To learn more about DEC's volunteers and partners, visit DEC's website.

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