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Stewardship Appreciation Awards

DEC accepted nominations for the 2020 Stewardship Appreciation Awards through May 31, 2020.

Public Engagement Award (PDF): for organizations, individuals, educational institutions, or municipalities for promoting public interaction, outreach, promotions, and/or education

Natural Resources Steward Award (PDF): for organizations, educational institutions, or municipalities for overall stewardship, maintenance, restoration, and/or preservation of state lands, waters, or facilities

Natural Resources Volunteer Award (PDF): for an individual volunteer who has gone above and beyond in the stewardship, education, promotion, maintenance, restoration, and/or preservation of state natural resources or facilities

Adventure NY Award (PDF): for a specific unique or creative project or program related to the stewardship, restoration, maintenance, preservation, promotion, outreach, or education about state lands, waters, or facilities

Eligible Nominees

Minimum Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Nominees may be:
    1. Not-for-profit organizations;
    2. Individuals;
    3. Educational institutions; or
    4. Municipalities.
  2. Nominees must have one of the following formal agreements with DEC
    1. An active Volunteer Stewardship Agreement (VSA);
    2. A current Memorandum of Understanding;
    3. A current Use and Occupancy Agreement; or
    4. Proof of organized volunteer activities on State lands.
  3. Nominees must currently and for at least the past three years, be in good standing with DEC and in full compliance with the Environmental Conservation Law.
  4. Nominee was not involved in any litigation against DEC or State of New York within the past seven years.
  5. The efforts for which the individual or entity is being nominated must be:
    1. Located on or in support of DEC lands or conservation easements; and
    2. Initiated or completed within the past three years.

Please see nomination forms for other terms and conditions.

DEC is encouraging those who meet the eligibility requirements and are committed to improving lands, waters, and facilities including, but not limited to, forest preserve, 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.
  • Promoting environmental education efforts for the public, for example, Leave No Trace and outdoor safety principles, natural resource stewardship efforts, and outdoor recreational programming.

Nomination Process

All submissions must follow the instructions on the nomination form. Only nominations submitted in the required format will be considered. Please submit via email to Nominees may self-nominate, be nominated by another individual, or any DEC staff member.

Please include the following with your nomination in an attachment:

  • A copy of the agreement, or a signed letter from a DEC staff-person who can provide confirmation that the agreement is valid.
  • Any additional materials that could support the nomination (photos, brochures, website addresses, etc.).

If unable to submit via email, please mail a hard copy, with photos to: Adventure NY, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1010.

Nomination Review Criteria:

The selection will be guided by the following information that is included with each nomination form along with input from relevant land managers:

  • The nominee meets the minimum eligibility requirements.
  • The project or volunteer work has achieved significant and substantial improvements to DEC lands or facilities while contributing to the sustainability of New York State's natural resources.
  • The nominee worked above and beyond "typical" volunteer efforts, exceeding expectations and achieving noteworthy results.
  • The project or volunteer efforts may serve as a model for other partner/volunteer efforts.

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    625 Broadway, 14th Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-1010
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