The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kathleen O'Neil, NPCA media relations, 202.419.3717

National Park Service Air Expert Receives Conservation Award for Protecting Clean Air in Our National Parks


This morning the National Parks Conservation Association
(NPCA) awarded Denver-based Don Shepherd, an environmental engineer
with the Air Resources Division of the National Park Service, the Stephen T. Mather Award for his distinguished efforts to protect America's national parks and wildlife from the threat of air pollution.

"There are few priorities more important to our national parks than
ensuring clean, healthy air for park visitors and wildlife," said Tom
Kiernan, NPCA president, upon presenting the award. "Thanks to Don
Shepherd, our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy cleaner
air and spectacular views in places like Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde,
and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks."

The award recognizes Shepherd's demonstrated initiative and
resourcefulness in promoting environmental protection, which embodies
wholeheartedly the spirit on which the Mather award was established
more than 25 years ago.

"By championing the laws that protect the air quality, safety, and
majestic views of our national parks, Shepherd took direct action-where
others may have hesitated-to promote the principles and practices of
good stewardship in our national parks," added Mark Wenzler, NPCA
director of clean air and climate programs.

Shepherd, who grew up near Wheeling, West Virginia, traveled to
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of America's most well-known
national military parks, to accept the prestigious award at the 32nd
annual Association of National Park Rangers Conference-also known as
the Ranger Rendezvous-on December 9, 2009.

Most notable during Shepherd's 12 years with the Park Service, and
his more than 30-year career as an environmental engineer, are his
efforts to prevent proposed coal fired power plants from spewing dirty
air pollution into our national parks. As such, he is known as a dogged
proponent of the legal right to clean air in our national parks.

First presented in 1984, NPCA's Stephen T. Mather Award is
named after the first director of the National Park Service Stephen T.
Mather and for the second year is supported and endowed by Booz Allen
Hamilton. Those who receive it have shown steadfast leadership and
persistent dedication to our national parks.

NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.