National Park Service Awards

Join us on August 25, 2021 at 4pm EST for a ceremony honoring National Park Service employees, volunteers, and partners for their dedication and service to America’s national parks.

To access a version with audio descriptions please click here.


The Wes Henry Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Awards

The Wes Henry National Excellence in Stewardship Award recognizes outstanding contributions to wilderness stewardship by an individual, team, and non-government partner. Wes Henry dedicated his life to the preservation of wild lands. The former National Park Service Wilderness Program Manager was committed to finding innovative ways to educate others about the value of these special places and reflected an unwavering devotion to help connect people to their wilderness heritage.

The George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service

The Hartzog awards recognize the exemplary contributions NPS volunteers make to their park and to their community. George B. Hartzog, Jr. served as the Director of the National Park Service and created the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) program in 1970. In retirement, he and his wife, Helen, established a fund to support the program and honor the efforts of volunteers. Nearly 300,000 volunteers contribute more than 6.5 million hours of volunteer service annually at our national parks, for a value of more than $185 million.

James V. Murfin Award for Cooperating Associations and Partnerships

The James V. Murfin Award recognizes an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions throughout their career to strengthen partnerships between the National Park Service and cooperating associations.

The Freeman Tilden Award

The Freeman Tilden Award is the highest award presented to an individual National Park Service interpreter. Since 1981, the award is presented annually and recognizes outstanding contributions to the practice of interpretation and education by a National Park Service employee. The award was created to stimulate and reward creative thinking that results in positive impacts upon the preservation of the parks and the visiting public. The award is named for Freeman Tilden, who has inspired generations of interpreters across the world and whose Interpreting Our Heritage continues to be a definitive text for the discipline.

Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award

The Harry Yount Award honors rangers whose “overall impact, record of accomplishments, and excellence in traditional ranger duties have created an appreciation for the park ranger profession on the part of the public and other members of the profession.” Their leadership and willingness to do the tough jobs well—with style, grace, appreciation, and humor—serves as a role model for all park rangers.