The Public Lands Alliance Recognizes Nonprofits, Companies and Land Management Agency Staff at the 2024 Partnership Awards

By Katie Cavanaugh-Smith posted 04-19-2024 11:03 AM



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Public Lands Alliance (PLA) has announced the recipients of its 2024 Partnership Awards that celebrate the best in public lands partnerships. These awards honor individuals, organizations, publications, products, programs and services that embody leading edge achievements in the preservation of public lands and the enrichment the visitor experience.

The 2024 award winners were announced on Thursday, April 18th in a virtual celebration. The awards program is sponsored by Impact Photographics.

A total of 14 awards were presented to individuals, organizations and companies in six categories:

  • Public Lands Partner

  • Corporate Stewardship

  • Agency Leadership

  • Innovative Product of the Year

  • Outstanding Public Engagement of the Year

  • Publication of the Year

Each category reflects the multifaceted nature of public lands stewardship, recognizing efforts that range from individual leadership to corporate responsibility and community engagement. The awardees’ stories are a source of inspiration, showcasing how collaborative efforts can lead to extraordinary outcomes that benefit both the environment and the public.

"Partnerships continue to grow in their importance to the vitality of America's public lands and the people who depend upon them,” said Dan Puskar, President and CEO of PLA. “Each of our awardees has an incredible passion not only for the stewardship and enhancement of our public lands, but to serve their visitors and local communities.”

Here is a complete list of the 2024 Partnership Award winners: (Photos available upon request)

Public Lands Partner Award

The Public Lands Partner Award recognizes an exemplary partnership for its stunning achievements to protect and preserve public lands and enhance the experiences of visitors. The award is presented to both the nonprofit organization and its agency partner for their shared achievements.

The following organizations and their agency partners received the 2024 Public Lands Partner Award:

  • Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) & U.S Forest Service, Southern Region

  • Friends of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex & Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex

  • Hawai’i Pacific Parks Association, Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park & Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Corporate Stewardship Award

The Corporate Stewardship Award recognizes a company that has demonstrated exceptional achievement to enhance the quality of the visitor experience in America's public lands.

The following company received the Corporate Stewardship Award on behalf of their philanthropic and partnership efforts with public lands nonprofits:

  • REAL Watersports for their support of Outer Banks Forever

Agency Leadership Award

The Agency Leadership Award recognizes a land management agency employee for outstanding accomplishments in championing, cultivating and leading a partnership.

The following individual was presented with the Agency Leadership Award:

  • Jennifer Owen-White, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Cam Sholly, National Park Service

Innovative Product Award

The innovative product award recognizes an interpretive product of any medium created in partnership by a nonprofit organization and land management agency that embodies a path-breaking approach to achieve a public lands mission.

Award Winner:

  • Jefferson National Parks Association (JNPA) for “Cobblestones & Courage: A Virtual Reality Experience in 3D

  • Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for the "Parks After Dark" Collection

Outstanding Public Engagement Award: Product or Display and Program or Service

The Outstanding Public Engagement Award recognizes exemplary products, displays, programs or services created in partnership by a nonprofit organization and public lands that advance meaningful and sustainable connections between individuals and America's public lands.

Program or Service Award Winners:

  • Regional Parks Foundation for “The Trails Challenge"

  • Grand Canyon Conservancy for the Grand Canyon Conservancy Residency Program 

Product or Display Award Winner:

  • Smokies Life for “Junior Ranger Activity Guide at Great Smoky Mountains National Park"

Publication of the Year

The Publication of the Year Award recognizes a book or other publication created in partnership by a nonprofit organization and a public land that embodies innovation in educating and interpreting public lands to its readers, and impacts a substantial audience. Each year an award is granted to both an organization with annual gross revenues above and below $1.5 million.


Award Winners (organizations with gross revenue below $1.5 million):

  • San Juan Mountains Association for Rio Grande National Forest Visitor Information Guide

Award Winner (organization with gross revenue above $1.5 million):

  • Western National Parks Association for White Sands National Park
  • Alaska Geographic for The Land We Share: A Love Affair Told in Hunting Stories

For additional details on the individual award recipients, contact the Public Lands Alliance.


About the Public Lands Alliance

The Public Lands Alliance (PLA) protects America's public lands by supporting and empowering the local, nonprofit partner organizations dedicated to their conservation. Its members are nonprofit organizations that have a formal partnership with a land management agency to support parks, forests, wildlife refuges, conservation areas, and other public lands sites. 
PLA members serve more than 675 public lands sites nationwide in cooperation with their land management agency partners, and they raise $250 million annually to support those lands.