Clemson University Institute for Parks

2015 Award Recipients

The Benton H. Box Award - Dr. Julian Agyeman
The William C. Everhart Award - Judy Braus
The Walter T. Cox Award - Brad Wyche 
The Dwight A. Holder Award - Dr. Wade Vagias
Fran P. Mainella Award - Priscilla E. Geigis
The Robert G. Stanton Award - awarded alternate years

The Benton H. Box Award

The Award is named in appreciation of Dr. Box's distinguished career as an educator/administrator, especially as Dean of the College of Forest and Recreation Resources at Clemson University, which he led to national and international recognition for academic excellence and for leadership in fostering private innovation in resource management. The Award recognizes the teacher who by precept and example inspires in students the quest for knowledge; or the administrator who fosters a learning environment and encourages curriculum innovation to inculcate an "environmental ethic" as the rule of conduct involving resource management, development and utilization; or the private practitioner whose management over a sustained period demonstrates leadership in preserving, enhancing, renewing and restoring a livable environment.

The Benton H. Box Award was awarded to Dr. Julian Agyeman in for recognition as a teacher and practitioner who by precept and example inspires in students the quest for knowledge and encourages curriculum innovation to inculcate an “environmental ethic” as the rule of conduct.

Dr. Julian Agyeman accepts the Benton H. Box Award from Dr. Ben Box, former Dean of The College of Forest and Recreation ResourcesDr. Julian Agyeman is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, Medford, MA. He is the originator of the concept of ‘just sustainabilities’, the full integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as: “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.”

As an ecologist/biogeographer turned environmental social scientist, he has both a science and social science background which helps frame his perspectives, research and scholarship. He thrives at the borders and intersections of a wide range of knowledges, disciplines and methodologies, which he utilizes in creative and original ways in his research. He was co-founder in 1988, and chair until 1994, of the Black Environment Network (BEN), the first environmental justice-based organization of its kind in Britain. He was co-founder in 1996, and is now Editor-in-Chief of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability and was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in the same year. The mission of the RSA is to enrich society through ideas and action. He is Series Editor of Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice published by Zed Books and Co-Editor of the Series Routledge Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City. He is also Contributing Editor to Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development and a member of the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education. In addition, he is an Affiliate at the Civitas Athenaeum Laboratory at KTH – Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, a Studio Associate at The Studio at the Edge of the World, University of Tasmania Creative Exchange Institute, and a Senior Scholar at The Center for Humans and Nature, Chicago.

His publications, which number over 160, include books, peer reviewed articles, book chapters, published conference presentations, published reports, book reviews, newspaper articles, Op-Eds and articles in professional magazines and journals. His books include Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (co-edited with Robert D Bullard and Bob Evans: MIT Press 2003), Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice (NYU Press 2005), Environmental Inequalities Beyond Borders: Local Perspectives on Global Injustices (co-edited with JoAnn Carmin: MIT Press 2011), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (co-edited with Alison Hope Alkon: MIT Press 2011), Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice (Zed Books 2013) and Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities (co-edited with Stephen Zavestoski: Routledge 2014). December this year will see the publication of his book Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (co-authored with Duncan McLaren: MIT Press). He is currently working on a book on food trucks.

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The William C. Everhart Award

The Award is named in appreciation of the distinguished career of Bill Everhart as field interpreter, researcher, administrator, author, and creator of the National Park Service's Harpers Ferry Center for creative design and communication, which has received national and international recognition for excellence. The Award recognizes sustained achievements during a career or in a specific episode that illuminate, provide creative insights to, and that foster an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage.

Judy Braus received the Everhart Award by Drew LanhamThe William C. Everhart Award was awarded to Judy Braus for recognition of sustained achievements during a career or in a specific episode that illuminate, provide creative insights to, and that foster an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage.

Judy Braus has been actively involved in national and international environment and education efforts for almost three decades. She is currently the Executive Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating environmental literacy and civic stewardship through the power of environmental education. In her current position, she sets strategic direction for the field of environmental education, working with 54 NAAEE affiliate organizations, and a diverse network of partners, including foundation, corporate, government, and NGO leaders from around the world. Prior to NAAEE, she successfully managed the education and outreach departments at three national and international conservation organizations: the National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the National Wildlife Federation. She was also the manager of environmental education programming at the U.S. Peace Corps. She has led many international environmental education projects, facilitated leadership and strategic planning workshops and conferences in dozens of countries, been the chief editor of several successful national publishing efforts focused on environmental education, and published in numerous nationally recognized periodicals and books. Her areas of expertise include environmental education, project management and strategic planning, leadership training and facilitation, conservation planning, writing and publishing, curriculum and web development, fundraising, and evaluation.  

Throughout her career, Braus has focused on using the power of education to help communities restore and protect the environment. Judy is passionate about creating a more diversity and inclusive environmental movement. Her focus is to strengthen the programmatic and operational side of NAAEE so that it can help empower individuals and organizations to work together to increase their collective impact and create societal change.  

Her notable achievements include the creation and implementation of TogetherGreen, a $20 million alliance between Audubon and Toyota to build leadership, engage more people in conservation, and promote diversity and inclusion in the field. After five years, TogetherGreen had engaged hundreds of thousands of Americans through fellowships, grants and a community-based volunteering initiative. At Audubon, she developed a planning guide, “The Tools of Engagement: A Toolkit for Engaging People in Conservation,” in collaboration with the EPA-funded Environmental Education and Training Partnership, NAAEE, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners. She was also the co-author of Environmental Science—a textbook for high school students published by Pearson. 

Braus also developed “Windows on the Wild” at WWF, and “NatureScope” at NWF, educational materials that are still widely used. While at Peace Corps, Braus co-authored “Environmental Education in the Schools: Creating a Program that Works,” which is used in dozens of countries around the world. She also believes in the importance of partnerships and has cultivated lasting relationships with Toyota Motor North America, REI, National Geographic Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Aardman Animations, and many others. She sits on several boards, including the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders and is co-chair of the Advisory Committee for the Blue Sky Funders Forum—a funders collaborative focused on strengthening the field of environmental education. Braus has won numerous awards throughout her career, including the Walter E. Jeske Award for Leadership in Environmental Education, the Project Learning Tree Gold Star Award, and the Rudolph J.H. Schafer Award for Outstanding Long-term Commitment and Leadership in Environmental Education. She has conducted workshops, presentations, and keynotes around the world and just returned from leading a strategic planning workshop in Punta Arenas to develop an EE strategy for the Magellan Region of Chile.

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The Walter T. Cox Award

The Award is so named in appreciation of Dr. Cox's distinguished career in education and public service, especially his tenure as President of Clemson University and as the Director of the Santee-Cooper Authority. The Award recognizes sustained achievement in public service on the firing line, where the public interest meets the private interest in public policy formulation and administration; distinguished leadership and support of innovation in conflict resolution of policy initiatives that enhance the quality of life; personal achievements during a career or in a specific episode that provides inspiration and leadership to others in serving the above purposes.

Walter Cox AwardThe Walter T. Cox Award was awarded to Brad Wyche for sustained achievement in public service providing leadership in administration of public lands and for policy formation affecting our natural and cultural resources.

In 1998, Brad Wyche left a successful law practice in Greenville, South Carolina to start Upstate Forever as a membership-based nonprofit organization.  He saw a serious void in the Upstate region:  there was no land trust program for conservation-minded landowners and there was no serious discussion on addressing the huge challenge of how and where to accommodate the Upstate’s rapid growth. Upstate Forever has certainly filled this void.

During the first year he worked alone in his home with no funds and no staff. Today Upstate Forever has 20 staff members in two offices (in Greenville and in Spartanburg), nearly 2,000 members, and many successes under its belt.  Just some of the accomplishments include the Swamp Rabbit Trail (its very first project), signing 100 conservation easements to date that protect over 19,000 acres of special places across the Upstate, the advocacy for green building through the LEED Platinum renovation of its main office (the highest possible certification and one of only four platinum projects in South Carolina), water quality improvements in the Reedy, Saluda and Twelve Mile Rivers and Lake Greenwood, the bikeshare program in Greenville, an eye-opening growth projection study for the region, and the enactment of numerous local ordinances and policies relating to land use, tree cover and development.

Brad served on Governor Dick Riley’s Council on Natural Resources and the Environment and on Governor Mark Sanford’s Climate Change, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee.  From 1999 to 2003, he was the Chairman of the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control.  He was a member of the South Carolina Coastal Council from 1986 to 1995.

Brad is the co-author of Guide to Environmental Law in South Carolina, now in its third edition, as well as numerous articles in legal journals on environmental and natural resource protection issues. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental studies from Princeton University and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia. He also has a master’s degree in natural resource management from Yale University.

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The Dwight A. Holder Award

The Award is named in honor of Mr. Holder's illustrious career as an entrepreneur and public servant. As Chairman of the South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism Commission he led South Carolina's parks into a new era of service to the people of South Carolina and the nation. The Award recognizes outstanding work by doctoral candidates in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; a member of the Department faculty for original research, scholarly writing, and innovative and inspired teaching; the faculty adviser and graduate student as a team, for initiatives that foster understanding of and provide new insights into the promotion, management, wise use and enjoyment of South Carolina's natural and cultural heritage in perpetuity; and distinguished academic leadership by a member of the Department faculty. (Mr. Holder passed away in Spring 2006).

Dwight Holder AwardThe Dwight A. Holder Award was awarded to Dr. Wade Vagias, for outstanding work and sustained achievement that foster understanding, wise use, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.

Dr. Wade Vagias currently serves as the Management Assistant to the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. His portfolio includes legislative affairs, relationships with gateway communities and elected officials, and a host of other duties. He was also responsible for resolving the nearly two-decade-long winter use planning debate and implementing the final Rule for winter use in Yellowstone. He recently completed a 4-month assignment as the interim superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park, UT. Finally, in mid-October he will begin a new assignment as superintendent of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in south-central Idaho.

Previously, Vagias worked in the Washington Office of the NPS where he led a service-wide effort to integrate Wilderness Character into NPS planning, management, and monitoring and created the interagency Wilderness Fellows Program. Other professional experiences include faculty appointments with Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and Butler County Community College of Pennsylvania, river ranger with the Bureau of Land Management, raft guide with the Nantahala Outdoor Center, mountain operations at Snowbird Ski Resort, and various research projects. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Colorado State University where he serves on various master and doctoral candidate committees. Vagias completed his Ph.D. in 2009 in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism where his research focused on evaluating the Leave No Trace visitor education program, a program that has been adopted by parks and protected areas around the world. His dissertation and accompanying technical report have directly produced three peer reviewed journal articles with a fourth in development. He has authored 15 peer-reviewed articles, 22 technical reports and other non-peer reviewed papers, and delivered over 30 conference and invited presentations. Wade, his wife Jenna, and their daughter Brooke enjoy multi-day river trips, hiking, camping, and generally exploring the many trails and back roads throughout the Intermountain West.

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The Fran P. Mainella Award

The Award is named in appreciation of the dynamic career of Fran Mainella as the first woman Director of the National Park Service. As Director, she focused some of her many efforts on creating systems of connected parks and developing innovative partnerships to expand services. Director Mainella was previously the Director of the Florida State Park Service and the Executive Director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association. The Award recognized sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in the management of North America's natural, historic or cultural heritage.

Fran P Mainella AwardThe Fran P. Mainella Award was presented to Priscilla E. Geigis for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in the management of North America’s natural, historic or cultural heritage.

Priscilla E. Geigis oversees the Division of State Parks and Recreation, which manages over 350,000 acres of public land from the Boston Harbor Islands to Mount Greylock in the Berkshires comprised of forests, parks, rail trails, parkways, beaches, rinks, pools and golf courses providing diverse recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Priscilla’s love for parks and nature was inspired by her childhood adventures hiking and camping at state and national parks across the country each summer with her sister and parents. She has a particular interest in getting kids (and kids at heart) connected to the great outdoors fostering healthy lifestyles and promoting shared stewardship of our resources. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of DCR’s Park Passport program and Learn to Camp programs, and in bringing Connecticut’s Great Park Pursuit to Massachusetts all in an effort to promote state parks and provide memorable and inspirational experiences for families and visitors of all ages. Priscilla believes that “everyone has a role to play in preserving and enhancing our parks” and created Park Serve Day, which has become one of DCR’s signature, annual events and its largest volunteer day. She co-created Outdoor Kitchen, demonstrating healthy recipes using locally-raised produce to make while camping and picnicking in Massachusetts state parks. She also co-created DCR’s Healthy Heart Trail program which designated 70 easy to moderate 1.5 mile trails across the state to encourage daily physical exercise and a connection to our natural world which was recognized by the American Red Cross. Most recently, she helped launch DCR’s Sponsorship Program to encourage public-private partnerships. Priscilla has served as DCR’s Director of State Parks and Recreation since 2004.

Since 2012, Priscilla has served as President of the National Association of State Park Directors and as a member of the Board since 2005. During her tenure, she expanded a successful Massachusetts program to all 50 states launching America’s State Parks First Day Hikes on January 1, 2012 and serving as the National Coordinator in 2012 and 2013. January 1, 2016 will mark the program’s fifth year in promoting America’s State Parks, healthy lifestyles and year-round recreation. Priscilla also established a mentor program and resource materials to guide new State Park Directors. Priscilla served as Co-Chair for the Children in Nature Partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) developing webinars to share program ideas to connect kids to nature. She was a founding officer of the America’s State Parks Foundation and executed agreements with the NPS and the American Hiking Society for programmatic collaborations. She represents NASPD on the NPS Centennial Advisory Committee and is coordinating a national history project that celebrates the evolution of and the connection between state and national parks to be presented by individual states as NASPD’s contribution to the NPS centennial effort.

Priscilla graduated from Connecticut College in 1987 and began her career in state government in 1992 after receiving a Master in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Center of Government and a law degree from Northeastern School of Law. She worked for the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs prior to her role with DCR.

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The Robert G. Stanton Award

The Award is named in appreciation of the remarkable career of Robert Stanton as the first African-American Director of the National Park Service. Among the many accomplishments of Director Stanton was expansion of the interpretation of diverse cultural meanings inherent in National Parks and increased participation by racial and ethnic minorities as both visitors and employees. The Award recognized sustained and innovative achievement by a member of a racial or ethnic minority in the management of North America's natural, historic and cultural heritage. 

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Past Award Recipients

Past Lecturers