The Alabama State Parks Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will recognize special contributors to the parks with its prestigious Eagle Awards, to be presented Feb. 2.

Nominations are open online at alapark.com/eagle-awards and the awards will be presented in five categories: Elected Official, Community Partner, Park Partner, Volunteer in Parks (VIP) and Youth (students 12th grade and younger).

“We are looking forward to our third annual Eagle Awards,” said Alabama State Parks Division Director Greg Lein. “We are indebted to so many friends, volunteers and elected officials who help and support us throughout the year. This is one way we can recognize them and let them know how much they mean to us and to our parks.”

The deadline to make an online nomination is Jan. 2.

The Eagle Awards presentation ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Lake Guntersville State Park. Following the ceremony, Auburn University’s Raptor Center will do presentations on birds of prey.

Here are the 2019 Eagle Award nomination categories:

• Elected Official: This award honors an elected official who has worked in conjunction with the parks to help fulfill its mission to preserve natural areas, operate recreational facilities and extend public knowledge of the state’s natural environment.

• Community Partner: The parks cannot succeed without the cooperation and support of community organizations such as other government organizations, chambers of commerce, tourism organizations and local businesses. These groups understand that the success of the park means success for the community and work in many different ways to help the parks achieve their goals.

• Park Partner: Organizations work to provide or maintain amenities in the parks, such as hiking and biking trails, that otherwise might not exist due to the allocation of resources for other services. This award celebrates those partners who see a need and cooperate with park leadership to fill it.

• Volunteer in Parks: These VIPs work in various ways to make our parks system better. Volunteers may be providing physical labor or strategic planning to improve one park, or the entire system of parks. This award honors a person who gives of his or her time for the benefit of every person who visits the parks, all without any expectation of any recognition.

• Youth: Our parks inspire young and old, alike, but the impression left on youngsters often lives with them forever. Many turn their love of the parks into projects to benefit some of their favorite places — often as part of a Scouting program. This award, for students 12th grade and younger, honors the person whose contribution is extraordinary.

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