ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Kathy Grant, the lead Visitor Center ranger, is the 2021 recipient of the park’s George B. Dorr Permanent Employee of the Year Award.
Seven awards were presented to park employees and volunteers for outstanding service in a virtual ceremony Sept. 22.
A committee representing of the park’s various workforce divisions selected the winners, most of whom were nominated by their fellow employees. But Grant was nominated by volunteers.
“She is a terrific supervisor who has always made us feel like an integral part of the team at the Visitor Center,” the nomination reads in part.
“She runs a tight ship with kindness and a touch of humor. The training and guidance from Kathy help us to offer important information and advice to our visitors that, in turn, provides them with a better and safer experience in the park. Most importantly, Kathy makes volunteers feel valued, and that is the richest reward of volunteering.”
Seasonal employee award
Lifeguard Chris McGuire was honored with the Ace Savage Seasonal Employee of the Year Award, which is named for the park’s first seasonal ranger.
McGuire has been a lifeguard at Acadia for nearly 20 years. This year, because of hiring challenges caused by COVID-19 and the nationwide shortage of lifeguards, he is the park’s only full-time lifeguard.
“His proactive approach to visitor safety and swim beach regulations makes the visitor experience on Sand Beach a positive one,” his award nomination reads in part. “His visitor contacts reduce the number of incidents that law enforcement has to respond to.”
At the same time, his nomination reads, McGuire has “a smile on his face for every visitor.”
The Acadia Team Award was presented to the staff at the new reservation check-in station at the base of the Cadillac Mountain summit road.
“The staff worked diligently to establish protocols and procedures to manage the new [Cadillac] entrance station,” the award nomination reads.
“Visitors came to the mountain both with and without reservations and, as anticipated, the operation was complex in multiple ways. The staff learned to be flexible, to work together and to persevere through challenges. They have used tact and patience throughout the summer.”
Bill Ferguson, safety and occupational health specialist, is this year’s recipient of the park’s Safety Award.
“Bill’s approach to safety and environmental compliance has made Acadia National Park a safer place to work,” his award nomination reads.
“The integrated pest management program has benefited tremendously from Bill’s assistance. Nearly all the buildings and grounds in the park need some form of pest control to deal with fire and carpenter ants, flying and stinging insects, squirrels, birds and various rodents. Bill has consistently been available to deal with these issues.
“His ability to identify problems, come up with solutions and take steps to correct issues is a great benefit to the park.”
The Champlain Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to the trail team of Brett Binns, Keith Ohmart, Ron Priest and Andrew Straz in the Schoodic section of the park and to Paul McGrath, also a Schoodic volunteer.
“There is a beauty in the way this trail team works,” reads their award nomination. “When there is a decision to be made…they form a circle, and the four of them work as one easy unit, figuring out the best way, the best approach, the best solution.
“There are only three things they want: to make sure the trails and walks are safe, to see that any work they do has minimal impact and to contribute.”
In Paul McGrath’s four years as a volunteer, he has greeted visitors and answered their questions at Rockefeller Hall, the gatehouse at Schoodic Institute, Schoodic Woods Campground and Schoodic Point.
“He knows the peninsula like his back yard,” his award nomination reads. “And he’s here, volunteering, whether he’s [officially] volunteering or not. Putting on his baseball cap and his vest, sharing his knowledge and insights is what makes Paul happy – and a lot of other folks happy as well.”
Anne Green, who served as chair of the Friends of Acadia (FOA) board from 2017-2021, received the Acadia Partners Award.
“Anne led by listening,” her award nomination reads. “She was always seeking to better understand the thoughts and opinions of the Acadia National Park team, seeking to build a shared vision in collaboration with FOA and park staff.
“Anne has carried Acadia National Park’s message to donors and influential community members, always serving as a diplomat and helping portray Acadia in the best possible position. Her service as board chair builds upon the excellence of our partnership with FOA, which has never been stronger.”
Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider praised the staff in several of the park’s workforce divisions for their “incredible response to the flooding that occurred on June 9 that severely impacted the Schoodic District and the carriage roads and trails on MDI.”
“This was a chaotic time, and all those involved worked steadily and calmly, which aided in assuaging the anxiety and frustration for our visitors.”
Schneider thanked all the park’s employees for their hard work and dedication.
“Special places do not stay special by accident,” he said. “I truly believe that our most important resource is our workforce…because you are the ones who help people have incredible experiences at Acadia.”