The Great Lakes Park Training Institute honored the top professionals, programs, and facilities in the Midwest during its annual awards dinner on February 23, 2016 at Indiana’s Pokagon State Park. The Institute acknowledged the 2016 winners of the Garrett G. Eppley Scholarship; the Park, Facility, and Recreation Program Award; the Richard Lawson Award for Professional Excellence; and the Trustee Awards. The Institute also recognized the graduates of its Park and Recreation Facility Manager Program. The awards and certificates were presented by Allen Patterson (Awards Committee Chair), Stephen A. Wolter (Institute Director), and Mark Young (Institute Chair).
Two individuals were awarded Garrett G. Eppley Scholarships to attend the Institute. Named after Dr. Garrett Eppley, the scholarships cover GLPTI registration fees for up-and-coming park professionals in exchange for five volunteer hours during the event. The 2015 scholarship winners are Christopher Pollock of Woodridge Park District (Illinois) and Adam Schultz of Geneva Park District (Illinois).
The Institute issued two Park, Facility, and Recreation Program awards in 2016. The first award went to Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks for the Watershed Stewardship Center. The center is part of the West Creek Reservation Watershed partnership that provides residents of urban northeast Ohio access to quality green space and trails.
The Institute presented the second Park, Facility, and Recreation Program Award to Indiana State Parks for Indiana Capital Campout. Indiana State Parks hosted the first annual Indiana Capital Campout June 17 & 18, 2016. The event, designed to provide camping and outdoor recreation activities to central Indiana youth who have limited access to the outdoors, included fishing, camping, horseback riding, and a mile-long nature hike with Governor Mike Pence.
The 2016 Institute honored two long-standing members of the Board of Regents for their years of service with the Trustee Award. The Trustee Award, presented by the Institute’s Director, marks the end of an individual’s time on the Board of Regents. This year, the Institute honored Terry Coleman and Allen Patterson for their dedication to the organization.
The Institute’s highest individual honor is the Richard Lawson Award for Professional Excellence. The Lawson Award is given annually to individuals who exemplify continued and significant contributions to the parks and recreation profession in the Great Lakes region. The 2016 Lawson Award winner is Vicki Mayes. During her 35-year career she held leadership roles in the Bloomington (IN) Parks and Recreation Department, Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department, Lafayette (IN) Parks and Recreation Department, and Urbana (IL) Park District. She served as the director in Lafayette and Executive Director in Urbana. Over the course of her career she has been involved in projects worth approximately $75 million. Two of her projects have won awards from the Great Lakes Park Training Institute: Lafayette’s Tippecanoe Family Aquatic Center and Urbana’s Weaver Park Wetlands Project. She has also been a guest lecturer and/or presenter at Indiana University, Purdue University, Indiana State University, and the University of Illinois.
The Gadget Award is presented each year to the individual who invents or showcases the year’s most interesting/useful gadget during the Institute’s Gadget Session. This year’s winner was John Greene. The award itself was created by last year’s winner, Larry Miller.
Established in 1993 by Indiana University’s Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, the Eppley Institute partners with recreation, park, and public land organizations to enhance access, choice, and quality of natural, cultural, and recreational experiences.