The inaugural Pugsley Medals were awarded in 1928. The winner of the first National level award was Stephen T. Mather, the first director and "father" of the National Park Service. The distinguished pedigree of subsequent honorees has confirmed the prestige and status of this medal.
The Pugsley Medal purpose is to honor outstanding contributions in parks and conservation. The Pugsley Medal is awarded to citizens, political leaders, park and conservation professionals who have dedicated their efforts to the advancement of parks and conservation at the local, regional, state, or national levels. Medal recipients inspire us as they have accomplished great things in furthering the parks and conservation agenda in the United States in their community in their region or state or nationally.
Pugsley Medal recipients represent a cross-section of the park and conservation leaders. Some recipients are legendary national leaders such as Stephen Mather, Horace Albright, Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., and Lamar Alexander. In contrast, most Pugsley Medalists have a much lower national profile; and yet their stories are equally remarkable. Consider Margo K. Frankel (1932) who received a medal for her work in extending the Iowa State Park System or Beatrice Ward Nelson (1928) for her work with the National Conference on State Parks or Anita Gorman (2017) for her service on the Kansas City (MO) Park & Recreation Commission.
2021 Pugsley Medals were awarded to Elizabeth Kessler, Executive Director, McHenry County (IL) Conservation District; Arnold Randall, General Superintendent, Forest Preserves District of Cook County (IL); and John J. Reynolds, Director, West Region, National Park Service (retired).
2022 nominations will open Friday, April 15th and close Friday June 3rd, 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time with the medal presented in the fall.
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1. Nominee must be living at the time of nomination and must be a U.S. citizen.
2. Nominee will have preserved, facilitated, enhanced and/or created park and/or conservation lands which have significantly enriched the lives of people and/or made significant contributions to maintaining biodiversity.
3. Nominee may have developed or refined techniques or programs which advance the cause of parks and/or conservation.
4. Nominee’s record reflects advocacy, originality, courageous decision-making, and dedication to the public good.
5. The award recognizes achievements/accomplishments, not longevity and/or effort. The award recognizes a life or career-long record of accomplishments. The award is not given for a “one-time” achievement.
6. Past recipients have been acknowledged as leaders in professional organizations, but the award is not given for service in such organizations.
7. Nominee’s personal and/or professional record shall not have unverified or verified allegations that would tarnish the reputation of The Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal.