Brenda Lackey

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

“Brenda exemplifies our profession with confidence, charm, and humility. She is a mentor to hundreds of students. Brenda is a humble but powerful model that quietly and patiently instills confidence and creativity in her interpretive students.”
Dr. Michael Gross (2015 NAI Fellow)
Ron Zimmerman (2016 NAI Fellow)

Nominator ~ Raymond J. Novotny



President's Award     

Larry Beck     

San Diego State University

“Through his travels and crafting of stories, Beck feels that he is serving as a spokesperson for our profession, who then, as members of NAI, are better equipped to advance diversity, equity and inclusion issues— and a greater focus on social justice—in their own work at their sites.”
Debra Erickson

Nominator ~ Jay Miller



Master Interpretive Manager

Jenn Kirts

Chippewa Nature Center

“Jenn invests deeply in her staff and cultivates a supportive environment where employees are recognized as capable professionals and encouraged to innovate and grow both personally and professionally.”
Dennis Pilaske

Nominator ~ Dennis Pilaske


Master Interpretive Manager

Katie Raney

Texas State Parks

“Her presentations involving children and night skies are truly spectacular. This is not just because of her interpretive skill, but how she involves her staff and volunteers to be a part of these events. In essence, she is a true leader/mentor.”
John Miller

Nominator ~ Shirley Pecoraro



Master Front-Line Interpreter

Stacy Gray

Caddo Parish Parks & Recreation

“Whether her natural social abilities are inherently naturally occurring, developed through her extensive professional development, or most likely a combination of the two, the bottom line is that she’s highly skilled and makes what she does so well seem effortless.” Paul Horne

Nominator ~ Shirley Pecoraro


Master Front-Line Interpreter

Susan MacLaughlin Rasche

National Park Service/The Ohio State University

“Sue Rasche is a fantastic person and a wonderful instructor…She got me genuinely excited about public speaking and interpretation in a way that I’ve never been before, and she ignited a passion for environmental interpretation in me that I didn’t know I had.”
Jeff Sharp, Director, School of Environment and Natural Resources - The Ohio State University

Nominators ~ Ken Gober and Ray Novotny



Outstanding New Interpreter

Sabrina Deschamps

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

“Interpretation must be personal, but the ability to put a personal touch on interpretation without making it about oneself is a difficult balancing act. Sabrina is the high-wire tightrope walker of this skill.”
Kaitie Janecke Soltesz

Nominator ~ Paul Cypher




Outstanding Interpretive Volunteer

Daniel Barriball

Indiana Dunes State Park

“Mr. Barriball has sought to advance bird related events that Indiana Audubon hosts in the state park, in conjunction with the park’s interpretive services. Mr. Barriball has offered his services in leading species-specific bird walks (i.e. whip-poor-wills, American woodcocks, etc..) and has assisted in songbird banding education done for both the public and school groups.”
Brad Bumgardner

Nominator ~ Marie Laudeman



Outstanding Senior/Retired Interpreter

Ray Novotny

Mill Creek MetroParks

“The intangible effect of Ray’s work will likely be never completely known. I can assure your committee that Ray has provided NAI with an invaluable, unmistakable, and perhaps unrepeatable service. His work is indeed a distinguished gift to all of us in the profession of heritage interpretation.”
Cem Basman

Nominator ~ Ken Gober



NAI Special Award     

Ira Bletz

East Bay Regional Park District, Retired 

“Ira’s mastery extends well beyond traditional management to something truly unique: his interpretive beer tastings!”
Ray Novotny

Nominator ~ Ray Novotny    


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