Clemson University recognizes outstanding leadership in conservation during annual awards, lecture series

November 9, 2021

Each year, the Clemson University Institute for Parks honors outstanding figures in the field of environmental conservation during the George B. Hartzog Jr. Awards and Lecture Series. Recently, leaders in park and conservation area management, along with University faculty and staff, came together to honor five men and women for their contributions to the management of parks and preservation of our natural, historical and cultural heritage.

Now in their 43rd year, the lecture and awards program – named for George B. Hartzog Jr., the seventh director of the National Park Service – continue to recognize the types of visionary leaders Hartzog respected and admired. Individual awards are named for trailblazers in conservation who, like Hartzog, dedicated their lives to protecting the country’s natural and cultural heritage.

“From studying muskoxen in the Russian and Alaskan Artic and wild yaks in the Himalayas to studying the effects of noise and light pollution on protected areas and managing some of the nation’s most visited parks, the breadth and depth of each award winner’s impact on our nation’s parks and environment is remarkable,” said Bob Powell, director of the Institute for Parks. “They aren’t afraid to push boundaries and forge new paths in order to create change.”

State Park personnel attended the George B. Hartzog Jr. Awards Luncheon to honor this year’s award winners.

The 2021 George B. Hartzog Jr. Award winners include:

  • Joel Berger, world-renowned conservationist, author and wildlife conservation chair in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. Berger received the Benton H. Box Award, which recognizes a leader who works to preserve the natural environment and an educator who inspires in students the quest for knowledge and encourages curriculum innovation. Berger was recognized for his research, advocacy and leadership protecting wildlife and addressing climate change.
  • Cassius Cash, superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, received the Walter T. Cox Award for his sustained achievement, public service and leadership in conserving and managing public lands including the most bio-diverse and most visited National Park in the U.S.
  • Adam Beeco, program manager of policy, planning and compliance in the Natural Sounds and Night Skies (NSNSD) of the National Park Service (NPS), received the Dwight A. Holder Award. This award recognizes outstanding work by doctoral graduates from the Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation.
  • Marc J. Stern, professor in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech, received the William C. Everhart Award which recognizes sustained achievements that illuminate, provide creative insights and foster an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage. Stern’s scientific work has and continues to improve interpretation and environmental education practice across the National Park Service and more broadly.
  • Linda Lanterman, state parks director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, received the Fran P. Mainella Award for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in the management of North America’s natural, historic or cultural heritage. Lanterman formerly served as president of the National Association of State Park Directors and the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers.

Hartzog award winners (left to right) Cassius Cash, Linda Lanterman, Adam Beeco and Marc Stern. Not pictured: Joel Berger.

Immediately following the awards luncheon, winners and guests attended the George B. Hartzog Jr. lecture. Drew Lanham, award winning author, poet and Distinguished Alumni Professor in the Clemson University Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, delivered a call to action during the lecture portion of the program.

Drew Lanham presents the 2021 Hartzog Lecture to call attention to racial inequities and environmental degradation.

An eco-social advocate, activist and rural southerner intent on making a difference for his home place, the goal of Lanham’s lecture, titled “Our Ecology – Mercy, Mercy Me and Thinking Like a Mountain. A New and Louder Call for Considering Conservation More Broadly,” was to bend hearts and minds to address racial inequities and environmental degradation.

“It’s no surprise that I’m passionate about my work,” Lanham said. “At heart, I’m just a man in love with nature trying to bridge my passions among the nature-loving public – and I think the same can be said for each of the five extraordinary award winners, as well.”

The Clemson University Institute for Parks (CUIP) provides research, education, training, and outreach that enhances the management of the world’s parks and protected areas. It accomplishes this by providing park and protected area managers with innovative research to support science-based decision-making; and by developing current and future leaders in the park movement by providing interdisciplinary and transformative education and training programs. The Institute currently consists of 35 Fellows and 10 Scholars working on park-related research.

The institute is part of the University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in July 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven disciplines – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission in “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.

Visit the CUIP website for more information about the George B. Hartzog Jr. Environmental Awards program and this year’s recipients.