AORE Association News June 2016 - Page 12

By Tyler Merriam, Awards Committee Member, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters

With a fruitful and grounding year behind us, and fresh members to help us serve AORE in a new year, the Awards Committee has been busy solidifying the achievements of 2015, and working towards innovative projects for 2016. Among the successes of 2015 was adding new awards in order to acknowledge people and programs who may have previously gone unrecognized. New awards are an integral part of a healthy professional organization, and reflect the growth and diversity of its members and stakeholders. Two awards, new in 2015 and again offered in 2016, are of particular note.

A large portion of the Awards Committee’s work is partnering with other committees to achieve common goals. Therefore, we’d like to highlight a new award from the Environmental Stewardship Committee: The Green Program Award. This award is intended to recognize the hard work of programs who are reducing their ecological footprint and, by doing so, are also contributing to one of many AORE goals: the preservation and conservation of the natural environment. The inaugural winner of the Green Program Award in 2015 was Colorado College, Department of Outdoor Education. Their environmental accomplishments are too numerous to list in this article, but we encourage you check out the program for yourself and you will see why they’re leading the way in environmentally friendly practices. We encourage all member programs who conduct their operations in an environmentally sensitive way to apply for the 2016 Green Program Award.

The other new award from 2015 is the Patsy Kott Service Award. This award, established by donations from Patsy Kott and AORE members, recognizes long term professional work or service having a lasting impact on the Association and its mission. It is presented to an AORE member who has demonstrated behind the scenes impactful and steadfast service to AORE. In 2015 the inaugural award was presented to Silvia Chan, the Senior Associate Director at the University of Connecticut. Silvia has served AORE in multiple capacities for over 15 years, most notably as the chair of the Presenter Relations Committee, though her contributions go far beyond this position.

Since a distinguishing characteristic for the Patsy Kott Service Award is significant long-term service to support the Association from behind the front lines, we encourage all members of AORE to begin considering who among us has given tirelessly to behind the scenes AORE efforts. This is our opportunity to recognize the unsung heroes who are essential to the success of AORE not only from year to year, but also decade to decade.

In 2015 the Awards Committee saw a large increase in nominations for the professional development awards. This was exciting not only for us, but also for the Association as a whole. It demonstrates that AORE members are focusing on their own skills advancement, and thus creating a more professional membership body. As more members continue to apply for these awards, it creates momentum within the Awards Committee to pursue new and diverse awards. Therefore, we encourage all members to consider applying for professional development awards in 2016. Jonathan Waterman, award-winning author, photographer, filmmaker, and expeditionary outdoorsman once said: “If you don’t take care of yourself, the best equipment in the world can’t prevent frostbite.” In spite of a busy work schedule and days spent in the field, why not set aside some time this year to take care of yourself? Hey, you never know where it will lead!


Awards Committee Update

Get Involved!

Awards Committee

To learn more about how you can help bring the Awards Committee, and AORE as a whole, to a new level, please contact committee co-chairs Jenn Velie ( or Steven Whitman (