2015 SHIFT Award Winners


Vincent Culliver addresses the audience at the SHIFT Summit after winning, with Tyrhee Moore, the 2015 Youth Engagement Award. This and all photos: David Swift

The 2015 SHIFT Awards recognized individuals, initiatives, or organizations that made innovative, impactful, and replicable contributions to conservation through outdoor recreation in 2015.

In the first nine months of 2015, SHIFT researchers identified more than 150 individuals or initiatives from around North America that leveraged outdoor rec for conservation gains. Further evaluations were made of more than 90 initiatives that participated in the nomination process.

The top 10% of the initiatives in each category (or the three highest-ranking initiatives, whichever was higher) comprised the finalists for our awards. There were also two ties.

We had five categories for the awards:

  • Business Leadership
  • Land Management Innovation
  • Adventure Athlete
  • Non-Profit Leadership
  • Youth Leadership

The finalists for our Business Leadership award, which recognized the company that best leveraged outdoor recreation for conservation gains in 2015, were as follows:

Whistler/Blackcomb’s Habitat Improvement Team, which protects, restores, and enhances fish and wildlife habitat in the Whistler community on behalf of Whistler/Blackcomb.

STOKE Certified, the world’s first sustainable surf and ski tourism certification program.

Hipcamp, a website that gets people outside by making it easier to discover and book great campsites, in every National, State, Regional, and Army Corps Park in all 50 states.


Carl Kish, the founder of STOKE Certified, which won the 2015 SHIFT Business Leadership Award.

The winner of the 2015 Business Leadership Award was STOKE Certified.

STOKE stands for a Sustainable Tourism Operator’s Kit for Evaluation. In conjunction with researchers, managers, and owners of surf and ski tourism operations, STOKE has developed a comprehensive set of criteria specific to surf and ski tourism respectively that guides operators towards best practices in sustainability.

The Adventure Athlete Award recognized the adventure athlete who best represented responsible recreation and conservation leadership in 2015.

Finalists were:


Stacy Bare, winner of the 2015 SHIFT Adventure Athlete award.

Stacy Bare, ambassador for The North Face, and the Director of Sierra Club Outdoors

Ryan Burke, endurance athlete, pioneer of “The Perception Traverse” in the Tetons, and a counselor at Curran-Seeley, a holistic treatment center that incorporates outdoor recreation to treat substance abuse

Amanda Carey, professional mountain biker, Executive Director of Mountain Bike the Tetons, and an ambassador for responsible recreation among mountain bikers

Rich Meyer, mountain guide, and board member for Winter Wildlands Alliance

The winner of the Adventure Athlete Award was Stacy Bare.

As the Director of Sierra Club Outdoors, Stacy is responsible for the management of volunteer-led outings that support leadership development for staff in all fifty states. As a Brand Champion for the North Face, he has advocated for recreational opportunities for military veterans to help the transition period post-duty following their service.

The finalists for the Public Land Management Innovation award, which recognized an initiative or program of a local, state, or federal agency that demonstrated thoughtful solutions in public land management.

SHIFT Festival 2015. Day 2.

Mike Schlafmann, winner of the 2015 Public Land Management Innovation Award.

Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer at the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s Voluntary Flow Management Program, which sustains adequate recreation flows during the summer months while maintaining suitable year-round flows to support the health of the river’s fishery.

The Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources’ WY Outside program, which addresses the growing disconnect between children and the natural world by inspiring a long-term appreciation for the Wyoming outdoors via education, experience, and adventure.

The winner of the Public Land Management Innovation Award was Mike Schlafmann.

As the Public Services Staff Officer at the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Mike oversees wilderness, recreation, outfitting, and guiding programs in the Forest. Mike is currently working with NGO partners and local government on expanding transit opportunities and connections between urban Seattle and adjacent state and federal lands. Mike’s work reflects a deep passion for engaging people directly in the management of open space and wild lands.

The Non-Profit Leadership award, which recognized individuals, an initiative, or an organization that made innovative, impactful, and replicable contributions to conservation through human-powered outdoor recreation.

The Adirondack High Peaks Summit Steward Program, for their efforts to protect New York State’s alpine ecosystem.


Alex Hamilton, representing Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, winner of the 2015 Non-Profit Leadership Award.

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), which recruits and trains volunteers with strong outdoor skills to travel the far corners of the globe and collect otherwise unattainable data for the purposes of conservation.

Margaret Creel, the program director for the Snake River Fund’s 5th-grade river program, which has introduced more than 1,500 students to the Snake River watershed.

Dr. Chad Nelsen, Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation.

The Access Fund’s ROCK Project, which seeks to activate positive social norms around climbing through consistent educational content, messaging, and programming

Snowriders International, a coalition of skiers, boarders and mountain recreation enthusiasts dedicated to the promotion of winter sports and the protection of the environment through service, education, research, and advocacy.

The Walking Mountains Science Center’s Natural Resource Internship Program, which trains future conservation leaders, many of them Hispanic, to understand the value of natural resource stewardship and conservation

The Winter Wildlands Association’s SnowSchool, a nationally replicable program that aims to inspire a lifelong interest in our nation’s winter wildlands.

The winner of the Non-Profit Leadership award was Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.

The finalists for Youth Leadership Award, which recognized an individual under 30 who made innovative, impactful, and replicable contributions to conservation through human-powered outdoor recreation:

Vincent Culliver. SHIFT Festival 2015. Day 2.

Vincent Culliver, co-winner of the 2015 SHIFT Forward Award.

Vincent Culliver, an assistant instructor for Outdoor Outreach. Vincent has emerged from their Outdoor Voices Youth Leadership Initiative as a distinguished young leader. He’s working to increase outdoor access for youth from marginalized communities by sharing his personal experiences with national decision makers such as Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Raquel Rangel, a regional coordinator for Latino Outdoors who organizes outings for young Latino students in the Central Valley of California to develop an appreciation for their place.

Emmett Schrader, Josh Marical, Dave Schyberg, and Nick Tribble, members of the Casa Grande High School Mountain Bike Team, who applied for a partnership with IMBA to learn about sustainable building practices and then engaged local volunteers and land managers to improve mountain biking trail access in their community.

Tyrhee Moore, a member of Expedition Denali, the first African-American team to attempt North America’s highest mountain, and an instructor at the City Kids Wilderness Project, which teaches teamwork, leadership, and outdoors skills for underserved and at-risk young people from Washington, D.C.

The winners of this award (we had a tie) were Vincent Culliver and Tyrhee Moore.

The SHIFT Forward Award was a $10,000 prize, made possible by the US Fish and Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center, to be used by the winning initiative or individual, as chosen by the Summit participants’ votes, to broaden the scope of their work in the world of conservation.

The finalists were:

  • Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
  • Chad Nelsen
  • The Access Fund’s ROCK Project
  • Winter Wildlands Association’s Snowschool
  • Raquel Rangel

The winner was Raquel Rangel.

Raquel Rangel, Regional Coordinator, Latino Outdoors

Raquel Rangel, Regional Coordinator, Latino Outdoors, winner of the 2015 SHIFT Forward Award.

Raquel is a Regional Coordinator for Latino Outdoors in the Central Valley, where she organizes outings for young Latino students to develop an appreciation for their place. Named by High Country News as one of “Ten People under 30 Changing the West,” Raquel was first a volunteer for the Tuolumne River Trust and other organizations in California’s Central Valley, where she noticed a lack of diversity in her outings. Raquel’s work serves the mission of Latino Outdoors, founded in 2013 to connect Latinos with nature and provide mentorship for young leaders pursuing outdoor-related careers.

Congratulations to all our 2015 SHIFT Award winners.

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