The awards included the L.L. Huttleston Executive Award, the agency’s highest honor, given to a senior manager; the first Waletzky Award for Environmental Stewardship; and the agency’s top peer recognition, the Maple Leaf Award.
AnnMarie McVicker, Park Operations Manager for the Palisades Region, earned the L.L. Huttleston Executive Award, the agency’s highest honor given to recognize “outstanding ability in the enhancement, administration and implementation of the Park system’s philosophy and development for the public good.”
McVicker has built a 42-year career in state service, the past 15 with State Parks. Among her roles with Parks were General Park Manager for the Palisades in 2017 and Park Operations Manager in 2018. Before joining Parks, McVicker served with the Department of Corrections for 27 years.
The award is named for the former director of State Parks Leonard L. Huttleston.
The Niagara Environmental, Capital and Operation Team earned the inaugural Waletzky Award for Environmental Stewardship. The award is named for Dr. Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, who served 14 years as Chair of the New York State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Taconic Regional Commission, and is given in recognition of her lifelong dedication to protecting, conserving and enhancing the ecology and biodiversity of New York State and beyond.
Niagara Region team members include Regional Director Mark Mistretta, Capital Facilities Manager John Honan, Community Affairs and Public Outreach Coordinator, Angela Berti, Great Lakes Restoration Coordinator Dave Spiering, Environmental Analyst Evyn Iacovitti as well as Albany-based staff Gaby Cebeda Mora, Director, Division of Environmental Stewardship and Conservation Section Head Lynn Bogan.
Funded via an $11 million grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the work started with Parks designing and implementing four habitat restoration projects in Beaver Island and Buckhorn Island State Parks along the Niagara River on Grand Island.
The projects were focused on protecting, restoring, and enhancing coastal wetlands along the shorelines and in the shallow areas of the Niagara River, including East River Marsh, Burnt Ship Creek, Grass Island, and Buckhorn Shoreline. All were completed on schedule and under budget from 2019 to 2021 and restored over 58 acres of habitat along over two miles of shoreline. Remaining funds are being used to complete three additional habitat restoration projects on Grand Island.
Jeff Mason, Facility Manager of Jones Beach State Park and director of all oceanfront state parks on Long Island, was the winner of the Maple Leaf Award. Mason began his career at State Parks in June 1983 as a Park and Rec Aide 1. Mason was cited for his work mentoring, developing, and teaching up-and-coming managers and supervisors, as well as his dedication, experience and institutional knowledge.
The Maple Leaf Award, established in 1981 by the Agency’s Statewide Facility Managers Committee, recognizes facility managers whose performance was uniquely outstanding. Since 1996, the Maple Leaf Award has been given annually to a single individual and the recognition is truly a “peer award” as the Facility Managers initiate the nomination, make the selection, and present this award.
Other award recipients:
Distinguished Service Awards which recognize outstanding capabilities and dedication to the State Park and historic site System.
MaryAnn LaClair-Nelson (Thousand Islands Region)
Lori Millea (Automation and Innovation Bureau)
Special Achievement Awards which recognize outstanding service in a specific aspect of Agency operations.
Max Garfinkle (Palisades Region)
Melissa Miller (Saratoga-Capital Region)
Michael Roets (Central Region)
Stephen Lee (Niagara Region)
Tyler Shields (Niagara Region)
Special Service Awards to recognize extraordinary achievement, continuous outstanding service or acts of valor.
Sgt. Jeffrey Santor (NYS Park Police)
Thomas Cunningham (Palisades Region)
Zach Ballard (Finger Lakes Region)
Tim Tibbles (Thousand Islands Region)
Sean McMorrow (Long Island Region)
Andy Cuthbert (Thousand Islands Region)
Caitlin Pannacchione (Long Island Region)
New York City Mechanics Team – Justin Betancourt, Miguel Tlatelpa, Andrew Williams, Stephen Allen, Robert Matos, Lateef MuMin, Anthony Aviles (New York Region)
Mike Vorel (Niagara Region)
Genesee Valley Greenway State Park Team – Kristine Uribe, Dylan Valentine, Aaron Yocum (Genesee Region)
Tom Hughes (Central Region)
Adele Wellman (Allegany Region)
Jones Beach State Park Comfort Station Team – Janette Brown, Marie Pierre, Delroy Payne, Silma Donaldson, Helen Mattadeen (Long Island Region)
Michael Lee (Long Island Region)
Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site Project Team – Linda Cooper, Charles Casimiro, Patricia Kirshner, Garrett Jobson, Kurt Kress, Patrick Kozakiewicz, Tom Murray, Daniel Lewis, Lavada Nahon, Erin Moroney, Kirsten Gustavson, Alton Malcom, Travis Bowman, Cordell Reaves, Dan McEneny, Amanda Massie, Chloe Hanna (Taconic Region/Capital Team/Peebles Island)
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by more than 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit the State Parks website.