2019 Richard Johnson Environmental Education Award Winner: Craig Hartsock
Growing up on his family’s farm in southern Bedford County, PA, Craig Hartsock knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in conservation and natural resources. Upon graduating from Allegany College with a forestry degree in 1976, and a short stint with the Maryland Forest Service, Craig was hired by the Allegany Soil Conservation District (SCD) as their first District Manager in 1977.
In his 34 year career with the Allegany SCD, Craig was always looking for opportunities to educate others on the importance of using our natural resources wisely. In 1989, Craig assembled a team of local “natural resource professionals”, and with the help of the Allegany County Board of Education, the first Allegany County Envirothon was held at Dan’s Mountain State Park. The following year, Craig organized the first Maryland State Envirothon competition. Craig went on to serve on the National Envirothon Board of Directors from 1992 – 2000, and was elected to the National Envirothon Hall of Fame in 2007.
Craig has been coordinating the Maryland FFA State Environmental and Natural Resources contest for the past 15 years, and in 2010 received the National FFA’s highest award - the Honorary FFA American Degree. He has served as Chair of the Upper Potomac Tributary Strategy Team; organized the Braddock Run Watershed Association; and helped start WATER DAYS (Watershed Activities To Encourage Restoration), a program to involve Allegany County elementary school children in planting trees and removing trash along streams. These efforts earned him the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s “Bernie Fowler” Award, and he has received four Governor’s Citations throughout his career.
Craig’s passion for environmental education and desire to help the citizens of Western Maryland continues today. He presently serves as Coordinator for the Maryland State Envirothon program, is President of the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., and is an Executive Board Member of the Rural Maryland Council.