Award winners throughout NYSOEA history, 1969-present

Below represent only some of the countless men and women dedicated to outdoor and environmental education.  They have been nominated by their peers and vetted by the NYSOEA Board and Awards Committee. These people are a testament to our long legacy…they have carried the torch or are still carrying it…and they are passing it along to you.

If you wish to nominate someone in order to recognize their contribution to Outdoor and Environmental Education history, please fill out the online Awards Nomination Form.

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Andy Angstrom

Andy Angstrom

Outdoor Educator Award, Andy Angstrom

For consistent workshops throughout the years at annual conferences and Winter Weekend celebrations, generosity of spirit, years of mentoring others, and serving as a 2014 Keynote Speaker, MaryLynne Malone nominated Andy Angstrom, a Founding Member of NYSOEA and “Educator of Outdoor Educators,” for the Outdoor Educator Award.


From left: Chris Maron, Executive Director, CATS; Brian DeGroat, Northern Region Representative; Tim Stanley, NYSOEA President; Marty Strong, Awards Committee.

Environmental Impact Award: Chris Maron, Champlain Area Trails [CATS]The Champlain Area Trails [CATS], led by Executive Director Chris Maron, was founded in 2009 with the goal of connecting communities, in a literal and figurative sense, by conserving land and creating and maintaining a network of multi-use trails throughout the Champlain Valley in Essex County, NY. In that short time,   CATS has developed 35 miles of trails that when added to existing trails, gets it halfway toward the long-envisioned goal of a 30-mile trail loop between Westport and Essex. CATS will extend its trails to neighboring towns and eventually connect them to trails in the Adirondack Mountains, Vermont, and Quebec. For tremendous vision and energy in promoting outdoor recreation, community partnership, and economic vitality in the northern region, Brian DeGroat nominated Chris Maron and CATS for the Environmental Impact Award.


Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn

Art & Literary Award: Tim Grant & Gail Littlejohn, Green Teacher Magazine Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn launched Green Teacher magazine in 1991, and since that time, have provided a platform that enabled more than 1000 youth educators from across the United States and Canada to share their expertise with a much larger audience. They also co-edited 6 popular books that have sold over 60,000 copies.   Additionally, Green Teacher will be providing digital subscriptions to each affiliate member of NYSOEA, helping to further share the wealth of knowledge and experience gathered in each publication. Since 2010, Tim has continued as Green Teacher’s editor and Gail now edits conference materials for a health sciences institute. For over two decades of consistent content, leadership, and support of the environmental education community, Tim Stanley nominated Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn of GreenTeacher magazine for the Art and Literary Award.


Mel Morris shakes hands with NYSOEA President Tim Stanley

Leadership Award, Melvyn MorrisMel Morris is highly deserving of the Leadership Award for his creation of the Open Space Stewardship Program, which has provided a countless number of teachers and students with opportunities to create and participate in environmental research projects on undeveloped land on Long Island. Founded in 2006, the OSSP currently has approximately 35 schools, and more than 3000 students, are actively participating in the OSSP, with even more students having been given opportunities for hands-on scientific exploration in their backyard, fostering a sense of civic responsibility and respect for open space, while providing them with the knowledge and skills to be successful in future careers in science and technology.   Mel’s vision to connect teachers and students to their community, deep concern for the Pine Barrens, and his passion and determination to keep the OSSP program thriving is why Jolene Thompson nominated him for the Leadership Award.


From left: MaryLynne Malone, Past President and Awards Committee Chair; Tim Stanley, NYSOEA President; Jolene Thompson, VP Program; Marty Strong, Awards Committee

Service Award, Jolene ThompsonIn a speech invoking the eponymous Dolly Parton song, the question was begged, “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene oh where do we begin?” Enthusiastic, upbeat, and easy to work with, she has done many little things that have made NYSOEA a whole lot better. From capturing much of the annual conference paperwork into Dropbox and other formats that can be readily shared with each subsequent conference committee to building an organized and cohesive framework for the Development committee to increase the profitability and excitement of auctions, Jolene keeps NYSOEA moving forward. With her keen attention to detail, Jolene has worked with subsequent conference committees to make sure things move forward smoothly. She advocates for activities that add value to conferences, such as evening entertainment and Authors and Artists corner, and strives to provide the best NYSOEA experience for all members. For these reasons, Jessica Kratz nominated Jolene Thompson for the NYSOEA Service Award.



Harlan “Gold” Metcalf Award

The highest honor presented to a member of the Association. Candidates must have made valuable professional contributions in New York State, demonstrated outstanding leadership, contributed to, and made significant achievements in the field of outdoor education. Recipients must have 10 years of professional experience and be a current NYSOEA member.

1968 Harlan “Gold” Metcalf

1969 George Fuge

1970 Nancy Ayers

1971 John Weeks

1972 Harry Thompson

1973 Norman Skliar

1974 John Loret

1975 Irwin Rosenstein

1976 Ernest Coons

1977 Charles Matkowski

1978 Ron Bover, Jerry Passer

1980 Andy Angstrom

1981 Samuel Ross, Jr.

1982 Edmund Bieber

1983 Richard B. Fischer

1984 H. Wayne Trimm

1985 John Padalino

1986 Kent Reeves

1987 Gary Christenson

1988 James I. Marion

1989 L. Janet Lee

1990 Jay Cummings

1991 Robert Budliger

1992 Marcia K. Carlson

1993 Edward J. Zero

1996 Charles H. Yaple

1997 Richard C. Hilary

1998 Helen Ross Russell

1999 Florence Mauro, Joe Pierson

2004 Louise Standard

2005 Barry Hopkins

2007 George Steele, Lucinda Hurley

2011 Snapper Petta

2012 Stephen Stanne



Leadership Award

Presented to candidates who are responsible for the growth of professionals in the field, who created innovative programs, and/or provided the management support that expanded outdoor education at the local, state, or national level. Recipient does not have to be a member of the Association.      

1975 Jerry Passer

1976 Samuel Ross, Eugene Ezersky

1977 John Kirk

1978 Kent Reeves

1980 Craig Chase

1981 Lorraine Munz Sorensen

1982 Walter Mingie

1983 Jack Sheltmire

1984 Thomas Rillo

1985 Robert Budliger

1986 Edward J. Zero

1987 Jack Drury

1988 Carol Ryder, Richard Ryder

1989 George Steele

1990 Anderson Young

1992 John Louther

1993 Charles H. Yaple

1994 John Paladino, Cheryl Riley

1995 Laura Carey

1996 Bruce Matthews

1997 Leon Ellis, Jr.

1998 Lucinda Hurley

1999 Nancy Reichert

2001 Andy Angstrom

2006 Foster Portzline

2007 Heather Chadwick

2008 Kathy Ambrosini

2011 MaryAnna Russo

2012 Eileen Gerle

2014 Melvyn Morris


Service Award

Presented for outstanding support of Association goals by contribution of personal time and energy. Recipient must be a member for three years.

1974 Julian Smith, Elizabeth Dunford

1975 Antoinette Salerno, Charles Matkowski

1976 Juanita Bumpus, Marcia K. Carlson

1977 Charles Conner, Thomas Goodkind

1978 Sally McCracken

1979 L. Janet Lee

1980 Louise Standard, Florence Mauro

1981 Henry Dewey

1982 Carol & John Berggren

1983 Jack Gramlich

1984 Diane Huber

1985 June Lee, James Marion

1987 Jane Coddington

1988 Frank “Snapper” Petta

1989 Barry Hopkins

1990 Wayne Fisher

1991 Cathy Ann Howes, Martin J. Strong

1994 Alan Mapes, Midge Monat

1997 Scott & Nancy Reichert

1999 MaryLynne Malone

2000 Sandie Roosa

2003 Kathy Ambrosini

2006 Elaine Drazin-Young

2007 Allison Roosa

2008 Fred Von Mechow, Patricia Von Mechow, MaryLynne Malone

2009 Tim Stanley, Susan Hereth

2010 Nathan Garcia

2011 Jessica Kratz

2014 Jolene Thompson


Art & Literary Award

Given for outstanding artistic or literary ability demonstrated by publication, scholarly pursuits or other creative art achievements related to outdoor education. Nomination does not require Association membership.

1974 Harlan “Gold” Metcalf

1975 Richard B. Fischer and Wayne Trimm

1976 Charles Lewis

1977 Anne LaBastille

1978 Donald R. Hammerman

1980 Thomas A. Stock

1981 Betty van der Smissen

1982 Helen Ross Russell

1983 Leonard Lee Rue III

1984 Phyllis Busch

1985 Donald & Lillian Stokes

1987 William “Billy B. Brennan”

1988 Jim Glover

1990 Michael Caduto, Joseph Bruchac

1991 Gilbert Merrill

1992 Dan Berggren

1993 Steve Brill

1995 Darrell Young

1996 Bruce Bonney, Jack Drury

2001 Jean Craighead George

2002 Hope Ryden

2003 Daniel Kriesberg

2004 Brian Heinz

2005 Rick Marsi

2006 Maxwell Corydon Wheat

2007 Nancy Castaldo

2008 Frank Knight

2010 Tom Chapin

2011 Linda Moriarty, Samuel B. Ross Jr. Ph.D.

2014 Tim Grant, Gail Littlejohn


Environmental Impact Outdoor Educator Award

Awarded to an individual or organization involved in research, conservation and political action that influenced, protected and successfully dealt with problems associated with the environment. NYSOEA membership is not required.

1984 Ward Stone

1985 Don Rittner

1986 Pete Seeger

1989 Hiawatha Purchase Committee

1991 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

1993 Braddock Bay Raptor Research, Adirondack Mountain Club

1999 Ruth Jones, Edwin Ketchledge

2000 Kara Hagedorn

2001 Paul Stoutenburg

2003 Bill Robinson

2009 Clearwater

2012 Robert McGrath

2013 Roy McDonald, Town of Wilton

2014 Chris Maron


Presidential Award

1979 Charles Conner

1988 June Lee, L. Janet Lee, Louise Standard

1992 Nancy Reichert, Scott Reichert, Florence Mauro

1998 Karen Edelstein

2002 Sandie Roosa

2006 George Steele

2010 Betsy Ukeritis, Jessica Olenych

2013 Jill Eisenstein, Matthew Fraher


Outdoor Educator Award

This honor recognizes the outstanding classroom teacher, environmental educator or interpreter in the Association who has used the outdoors to enrich curriculum and/or interpret the natural world in a way that has expanded the environmental appreciation of children or adults.  Candidates must be active in the field for five years and a NYSOEA member for two years.

1993 Bruce Matthews

1994 Daisey Kelley, Daniel Kriesberg

1995 Ilka List

1996 Martin J. Strong

1997 Sally Zielinski

1998 Barry Hopkins

2000 Susan Diachun

2001 Cindy McGlynn

2002 Kathy Ambrosini

2003 George Steele

2004 Bill Monahan

2006 Frank Benenati

2007 Jeff Gottlieb, Ann Guenther

2009 Nance Gross

2010 John Stowell

2011 Carl Heitmuller

2013 Rebecca Houser

2014 Andy Angstrom


Volunteer Educator Award

Awarded to an exemplary volunteer whose dedication and commitment of personal time and energy has significantly contributed to the goals of outdoor/environmental education in a school, park, museum, nature center or residential setting.  Nomination does not require Association membership.

2004 Jim Gmelin

2005 Roland Ellis, Patty Lent


Appreciation Award

1974 Edwin Gould Foundation

1979 John Hasenjager

1981 Ron Kupin

2006 Rhonda Jacobs

2009 Jessica Olenych, Betsy Ukeritis, Nirmal Merchant

2012 Elizabeth VanAcker



Julian Smith Student Award

Presented to deserving undergraduate or graduate students who have shown a commitment to outdoor education through study, leadership, volunteer work and seasonal employment. The student must been enrolled full-time (12 hours) and have a grade point average of 2.5 in a program of study related to outdoor education.  Applicant must submit a statement of interest and highlight experiences and/or contributions to the field. Two letters of recommendation must be secured from professors or one each from a NYSOEA member and a professor familiar with the student’s background.

1976 Paul Kuznia, Steve Sansola

1977 Moira Gleason, Dorothea Kunz

1978 Kim Dandridge, Carolyn Rutgers

1979 Robert Duhaime, Gabrielle Hunter

1980 Donna Boehner, Dorna Schroeter

1981 David Chapman

1982 Cydney Archer, Pamela Kerr

1983 George Frankel, Joann Stemmerman

1984 Rebecca Palmer, Beth Shiner

1985 Jacqueline Dundorf

1987 Julia Klein, Linda Smith

1988 Brent Bell, Ursula Shacklock

1989 April Taylor

1990 Drew Hopkins, Gregory Sherman

1991 Diane Beitl, Bonnie Gooden

1992 Debbie Anne Vignari

1995 Katrina Sucoff

1997 Patricia von Mechow

1998 Alina Gorskaia, Natalya Krivochiena

1999 Sabrina Mohammed

2003 Samantha Fish

2007 Dannielle Perry

2008 Lonnie Peterson