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Clemson University Institute for Parks

2013 Award Recipients

The Benton H. Box Award - Dr. Lee M. Talbot
The William C. Everhart Award - not awarded this year
The Walter T. Cox Award - Phil Francis and Phil Gaines
Fran P. Mainella Award - Mary Gibson Scott
The Robert G. Stanton Award - awarded alternate years
The Dwight A. Holder Award - not awarded this year

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 presented to Dr. Lee M. Talbot for recognition as a private 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. Benton Box (left) and Dr. Larry Allen, Dean of the College of Health, Education, and Human Development present Dr. Lee Talbot with the Benton H. Box Award. Dr. Lee M. Talbot is an ecologist and geographer with over 60 years of experience in national and international environmental affairs, biodiversity conservation, management of wild living resources, environmental policies and institutions, environment and development, ecological research and advising in 134 countries.

His former positions have included, among others, Chief Scientist and Foreign Affairs Director of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality for three US Presidents including Nixon, Ford, and Carter; head of Environmental Sciences for the Smithsonian Institution; Director-General of IUCN – the World Conservation Union; member of over 20 committees and panels of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council; and Senior Scientific Advisor to the International Council of Scientific Unions. He is also a senior environmental advisor to World Bank and U.N. organizations. He has conducted over 130 exploration and research expeditions to remote or unknown areas on five continents. He is author of over 285 scientific, technical and popular publications including 17 books and monographs, with some translations in nine foreign languages.

The first Staff Ecologist of the IUCN, he subsequently, with his biologist wife, spent over six years conducting pioneering ecological research on the Serengeti-Mara Plains of East Africa. He has received several national and international awards and recognition for his scientific accomplishments, environmental work, popular and scientific writing, and documentary film. He was cited as “an acknowledged leader in the shaping of national and international environmental policies and principles” when receiving the Distinguished Service Award of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He has been pivotal in shaping international environmental policy playing a significant role in authoring the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Dr. Talbot was also a major contributor to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Apart from his distinguished career in conservation biology, Dr. Talbot is also known for his car racing skills. He has raced professionally and otherwise for over 60 years, on four continents and in most kinds of race cars including sprint cars, sports cars, sports-racers, sedans, international rally cars, and formula cars. He has been the subject of numerous articles about his racing, including a profile in the AARP magazine in 2008, and he has also given many talks about racing, including an invited presentation on “The Intellectual Basis of Race Car Driving” to the prestigious Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. He has won many racing accolades including the SVRA “Driver of Year” award in 2010.

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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.

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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.

The Walter T. Cox Award was awarded to Phil Francis and Phil Gaines for sustained achievement in public service providing leadership in administration of public lands and for policy formation affecting our natural and cultural resources.

Dr. Larry Allen. Dean, College of Health, Education, and Human Development presents Phil Francis with the Walter T. Cox Award. Phil Francis’s career spanned 41 years, until his retirement this year. He served in a variety of parks since joining the National Park Service in 1972 at Kings Mountain National Military Park, taking him from coast to coast working in such special places as Shenandoah, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. In 1994, Phil transferred to the “Smokies” after serving for three years as the Associate Regional Director for Administration of the Southwest Regional Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After working for 11 years as Deputy/Acting Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, he was asked to become the sixth superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2005. 

Phil’s assignments have provided him with the opportunity to work with numerous partner organizations and communities. He provided leadership in the creation of a number of new non-profit partners including Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc., The Institute at Tremont, Experience Your Smokies, and Discover Life in America. 

Phil is a 2003 Graduate of the Department of Interior’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Placement Program and winner of the Department of Interior’s Meritorious Service Award, as well as numerous other performance awards during his career. Senator Lamar Alexander honored Phil in the Congressional Record in 2006 for his service at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And Discover Life in America, which is conducting the first all-species inventory of a national park, named a new species to science after Phil in appreciation for his support of the project.

A hallmark of his career has been his penchant for passing along knowledge and bringing youth into the stewardship fold. He ran Youth Conservation Corps programs and crews at Kings Mountain and Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Parks, and worked to find Clemson students to increase the diversity of parks where he has worked. One of the young students of color that Phil mentored remarked on his last day at work, that he wanted to be just like Phil!

Phil was born in Shelby, North Carolina and raised in nearby Grover. He attended Kings Mountain High School and later graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Administrative Management. Phil is married to Dr. Becky Nichols, a scientist employed by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Dr. Larry Allen, Dean, College of Health, Education, and Human Development presents Phil Gaines with the Walter T. Cox Award. Phil Gaines likes to refer to himself as “just an ol’ park ranger from Berea” but, to the South Carolina State Park Service team, he is a lot more than that.  Phil is a graduate of Clemson University and a Certified Public Manager.  He began his career as park ranger at Kings Mountain State Park in 1982 and advanced through the ranks serving as park manager at Lake Wateree, Dreher Island and Santee State Parks. His career then brought him to Columbia where he has served as the Assistant State Park Director and then was named the State Park Director in 2005. Under his leadership, the South Carolina State Park System has become one of the most self-sufficient systems in the nation, using state-park produced revenues to offset most park operational costs.

Phil serves on various national boards to include the Board of Directors of The National Association of State Park Directors; past President of the Southeastern Association of State Park Directors; instructor at the National Association of State Park Directors State Park Leadership School in West Virginia and has served as a past Chairman of the Board of Regents of the school. Phil also serves on various statewide boards including the Clemson University External Advisory Board for the College of Health, Education and Human Development and the Clemson University Curriculum Advisory Committee for the Parks, Recreation and Tourism major. Phil also serves on the Drayton Hall Site Council and the Battle of Camden Advisory Board.

Apart from Phil’s distinguished career with the South Carolina State Park Service, he is very active in his community and in his church. On those few opportunities where he can break away, Phil can either be found, camera in hand, hiking a trail in one of our state parks or in Death Valley cheering on his Clemson Tigers!

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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.

The Fran P. Mainella Award was awarded to Mary Gibson Scott, for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in the management of North America’s natural, historic or cultural heritage.

Fran Mainella, former Director, National Park Service and Dr. Larry Allen, Dean, College of Health, Education, and Human Development present Mary Gibson Scott with the Fran P. Mainella Award. Mary Gibson Scott became superintendent of Grand Teton National Park in May 2004. As part of the National Park Service’s Senior Executive Service (SES), Mary belongs to a small group of just nine other top level park managers, and currently the only female, with similar appointments across the National Park System which numbers 401 units. Grand Teton ranks with several other high-profile SES national parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains and Everglades.

During an NPS career that spans 33 years, Mary has served in park management positions at Santa Fe (former NPS Southwest Regional Office) and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; at Golden Gate, Santa Monica Mountains, and Channel Islands in California; at Gateway in New York; and at Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. She also worked on planning and development projects in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona. Mary held previous positions with the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California, the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2010, Mary served as Acting Regional Director for the NPS Intermountain Region Office in Denver, CO, where she provided oversight for 91 national park units across eight states from the borders of Canada to Mexico. 

During her tenure in Grand Teton National Park, Mary brought several major projects to completion, totaling approximately $150 million. These include:  the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in 2007; the design and construction of over 14 miles of multi-use pathways, totaling $14.4M from 2008 to 2013; and the design and construction of 32 residential units at Moose and Beaver Creek for park staff at a total cost of $17.6M. Mary also secured $23M in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to renovate the Moose HQ campus project. This project reduced the built environment by 8,160 square feet.

Mary advanced several critical land acquisitions during her tenure at Grand Teton National Park. She worked with the senior associates of Laurance S. Rockefeller to complete the conveyance of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve property in 2007 (1,106 acres), and she oversaw the opening of the LSR Preserve Center in 2008. Mary also negotiated the agreement with the State of Wyoming to purchase 1,406 acres of state lands within the park (worth $107M) and finalized the purchase of a 40-acre subsurface mineral parcel at a cost of $2,000 (2011) and an 86-acre parcel of school trust lands for $16M (late 2012).  She is actively working with the DOI, BLM and State of Wyoming to secure the purchase of the remaining 1,280 acres of school trust lands within the park at a cost of $91M.  In addition to the Wyoming school trust lands, Mary helped complete the purchase of several other private land parcels within Grand Teton. Total land added during Mary’s tenure to date is 1,286 acres, with more to come when the additional state lands are purchased.

Mary directed and provided oversight on well over a dozen NEPA and planning efforts. These include: the Bison & Elk Management Plan/EIS (2005, 2007); Winter Use Plans, which resolved snowmobiling litigation within Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009; the Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/EA (2012); and the Snake River Management Plan (2012, 2013). She is currently working with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation to support the Jenny Lake Renewal Project, a $13M public-private partnership project which will renovate the single-most visited location in the park and highlight the 2016 NPS Centennial. Mary is also directing the start of a major planning effort, which will address several resource protection and visitation issues within the Moose-Wilson Corridor that spans from the Murie Ranch to Granite Canyon Entrance Station.

Of special note, Mary initiated and facilitated an extensive planning process that resulted in the first-ever comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for the Jackson Hole Airport, the only commercial airport in a national park. The Jackson Hole (JH) Airport Agreement Extension/EA (2005) and JH Airport Agreement Extension/ FEIS (2010) represented a multi-year process that produced a suite of mitigation measures for protection of park resources, and established a framework for their achievement. Work continues on a wildlife hazard management plan for the JH Airport with support from the FAA.

During her lengthy NPS career, Mary has earned the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award (2003). Her award citation reads, “For career-long leadership in support of the preservation of resources of this nation’s national parks, and diligence in serving the visiting public, Mary Gibson Scott is granted the Superior Service Award of the Department of the Interior.” Mary also earned the 2008 Intermountain Region’s Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resources Award.

From 2008-2010, Mary served as chairperson for the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, which includes federal land managers from national parks, national forests and national wildlife refuges across the Greater Yellowstone Area. She just stepped down as the chair of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a multi-jurisdictional organization focused on the successful recovery and conservation of grizzly bears across a 22-million-acre natural area that spans three states (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming). Mary also serves on the National Leadership Council: a representative body of managers from the National Park Service that meets to achieve alignment, consultation, and coordination regarding significant issues facing the NPS.

With representatives of Argentina, Mary recently forged a sister park relationship with Los Glaciares National Park, the largest national park in the country. Mary also sits on the St. John’s Medical Center Foundation board.

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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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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).

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