Appalachian Laboratory

Johnson Environmental Education Award

About the Johnson Award

The Environmental Education Award honors the memory of Richard A. Johnson, a well-known orthopedic surgeon in the Allegany County area. He passed away in 1990 leaving a legacy of a caring and dedicated physician, family man, and naturalist. The Laboratory honors his memory through its promotion of environmental education and the people who excel in its practice.

The endowed fund usually provides a $2,000 annual award to recognize local citizens who directly contribute to environmental education. The award, which is meant to aid ongoing environmental education efforts, may be given to individuals or to organizations. The award committe intends for the true beneficiaries to be the students of our community who learn from the activities of the environmental education programs.

2020 Johnson Award Winner

Francis "Champ" Zumbrun winner of the 2020 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award
Francis "Champ" Zumbrun 
In honor of outstanding contributions to environmental education in western Maryland, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory has named Mr. Francis "Champ" Zumbrun as recipient of the 2020 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award.  The selection committee recognized Zumbrun, retired Forest Manager of Green Ridge State Forest, for his "active and enthusiastic role as a communicator and promoter of natural history in western Maryland." For over 25 years, he has played a critical role in Frosturg State University's Project Learning Tree program, and more recently, has become involved in the Allegany Forestry Board's Liberty Tree Project.  

Johnson Award Nominations

Nominations for the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award will open each year in October. Nominations can be submitted through email to Rhonda Schwinabart at, via the nomination webform, or by mailing materials to the following address: Attn: Rhonda Schwinabart, Appalachian Laboratory, 301 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD, 21532. 

The Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award honors those who mentor and inspire our citizens and future leaders in environmental science and stewardship; recognizes excellence in environmental education and in the research and public service that supports environmental education; and enhances environmental education opportunities for students of all ages. Nominees are limited to those who have made a noteworthy impact on environmental education in Allegany and Garrett Counties. 

Nominators are invited to attend an informal meeting with the selection committee in mid-November.   

Please contact Rhonda Schwinabart at 301-689-7102 or with any award-related questions.