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Washington D.C.
Release Date: 12/01/10
Contacts: Brianna Candelaria , (202) 912-7583  

BLM Presents Fifteenth Annual Excellence in Interpretation or Environmental Education Awards at 2010 National Association for Interpretation National Workshop

For the fifteenth consecutive year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recognized outstanding BLM interpreters and educators at the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) National Workshop, held this year in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The BLM’s 2010 Excellence award winners were:

GOLD AWARD winner: Rachel Sowards-Thompson, Interpretive Outdoor Recreation Specialist, King Range National Conservation Area, CA, for diverse family and youth education programs.

SILVER AWARD winner: Matthew “Matt” Christenson, Writer/Editor, Oregon/Washington State Office, for Northwest Passage, the magazine about BLM Oregon/Washington.

SILVER AWARD winner:  Joyce “Joya” Szalwinksi, Interpretive Park Ranger, El Centro Field Office, CA, for “Take it Outside! Off-Highway Vehicle Family Activity Cards” set.

The BLM Excellence in Interpretation or Education Awards, presented at a November 18, 2010, ceremony, recognized outstanding BLM interpreters and educators for their work on employee-conducted programs that enhanced public appreciation and understanding of the natural and cultural riches on our public lands, as well as management issues in the context of the BLM’s multiple-use mission.

Each of this year’s winners has done exceptional work with partners and communities to create meaningful interpretive and/or educational experiences and materials for public land users.

In presenting the awards, BLM Deputy Director Mike Pool said, “The BLM depends on its interpreters and educators to help the public understand what keeps our resources healthy, appreciate how the wealth of our nation’s public lands can enrich their lives, and guard the legacy we will leave for future generations.”
The three winning BLM employees were selected by a review panel composed of both BLM staff and representatives from partner organizations, including the National Association for Interpretation.  BLM Excellence nominees were judged on the quality of their work, their ability to involve partners, their effectiveness in enhancing public understanding of cultural and natural resources, their programs’ or products’ accessibility and sensitivity to diverse audiences, and their efforts’ success in helping the BLM to accomplish its management goals.
The BLM awards were presented in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service’s Gifford Pinchot Award, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Sense of Wonder Award, the National Park Service’s Freeman Tilden Award, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hiram M. Chittenden Award, and NAI’s Master Front-Line Interpreter and Master Interpretive Manager Awards.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 12-01-2010