ALABAMA (WHNT) – The Alabama State Parks Division and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have opened applications for the annual Eagle Awards.

Nominations are now open for the seventh annual Eagle Awards, which recognize special contributors to the parks.

“Alabama State Parks appreciate organizations and individuals that contribute their time and talents to help make the parks a better experience for others,” Parks Director Greg Lein said. “We are excited to once again recognize and reward them with our seventh annual Eagle Awards. Having this awards ceremony at Lake Guntersville State Park during Eagle Awareness Weekend is the ideal setting to honor and acknowledge the invaluable efforts that help make the Alabama State Parks successful.”

There will be five categories: elected official, community partner, park partner, volunteer in parks (VIP) and youth (students 12th grade and younger). Below you can find a brief description of each category:

  • Elected Official – This award will honor an elected official who has worked in partnership with the parks department to help meet goals ad fulfill its mission to preserve natural areas, operate recreational facilities and extend the public’s knowledge of the state’s natural environment.
  • Community Partner – Parks succeed with the cooperation and support of community organizations and local businesses, all groups that understand that the success of the park means success for the community.
  • Park Partner – organizations work to provide, sponsor and maintain park amenities, like biking and hiking trails. The award celebrates partners who see a need and work to fill it.
  • VIP – These volunteers do various different jobs in order to improve the parks systems. Volunteers provide physical labor to one or more parks.
  • Youth – Parks inspire people of all ages, but th impressions made on the youngest volunteers often impact them forever. Many turn their love of the outdoors into projects that benefit these parks, like with a scouting program.

Applications are open and will close on December 23, 2022. Winners will be honored during Eagle Awareness Weekend, Feb. 3-5, 2023, at Lake Guntersville State Park.