2019 Richard Johnson Environmental Education Award Winner: Craig Hartsock
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. Craig Hartsock as recipient of the 2019 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award. Hartsock was presented the award at a special ceremony at the Appalachian Laboratory on Thursday, April 11.
“This year’s honoree, Craig Hartsock, embodies both our values here at the Appalachian Lab and those of Richard Johnson,” said AL Director, Dr. Eric Davidson, “He has demonstrated the importance of training students of all ages to become privy to the fascinating and valuable resources of the wildlife, water, forests, and agriculture of our region.”
Growing up on his family’s farm in southern Bedford County, PA, Craig Hartsock knew early that he wanted a career in conservation and natural resources. After graduating from Allegany College of Maryland with a forestry degree in 1976 and serving a short stint with the Maryland Forest Service, he was hired by the Allegany Soil Conservation District (SCD) as their first District Manager in 1977.
In his thirty-four year career with the Allegany SCD, Hartsock engaged in numerous opportunities to educate others about our natural resources. Perhaps most notably, in 1989, He assembled a team of natural resource professionals to organize the first ever Allegany County Envirothon, an annual academic competition on environmental topics for high school students. The following year, he organized the first Maryland State Envirothon competition. Since then, he has continued to be involved in Envirothon at the local, state, and national levels.
In addition to his central role in the Allegany County and Maryland State Envirothon competitions, Hartsock has also coordinated the Maryland Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Environmental and Natural Resources contest for the past fifteen 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.
Craig Hartsock is a past recipient of the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s “Bernie Fowler” Award and today serves as Coordinator for the Maryland State Envirothon program, President of the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., and Executive Board Member of the Rural Maryland Council.
The Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award provides $2,500 to support further environmental education activities. The endowment supporting the award was made possible through the generous support of AES Warrior Run, Alliance Resource Partners (Mettiki Coal), First Energy, Verso Corporation, and numerous other donors over the past two decades. Generous sponsors of this year's program include AES Warrior Run, Allegany College of Maryland, Disney Company Foundation, Home Ground Inc., Mettiki Coal, and numerous friends.
Recent recipients of the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award include Liz McDowell (2018), Chuck Hager (2017), the Marcellus Shale Stream Monitoring Coalition (2016), Janice Keene (2015), Tom Mathews (2014), and the Forestry Technology Program at Allegany College of Maryland (2013).