Criteria for The SHIFT Awards

To determine nominees for The SHIFT Awards, SHIFT researchers identify individuals, organizations or initiatives from around the country that leverage outdoor rec for conservation gains in seven categories: Non-Profit Leadership, Business Leadership, Public Land-Management Innovation, Technology, and Youth Engagement, Adventure Athlete and Youth Leadership.

SHIFT’s team of evaluators then rank each initiative, organization or individual according to the following criteria.


  • Does it leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains? (Weight=2)
  • Environmental Impact: Does this initiative help meet the environmental challenges and goals of the community it seeks to serve?(Weight=2)
  • Community Impact: Does this initiative help meet the social challenges and goals of the community it seeks to serve? (Weight=2)
  • Economic Impact: Does this initiative enhance the economic health of the community it seeks to serve? (Weight=1)
  • Success to Date: Has the initiative achieved measurable success in the challenges it seeks to address? (Weight=2)


  • Innovation: Is this a new approach to the challenges facing the recreation/conservation conversation? (Weight=2)


  • Replicability: Is the initiative replicable-on other scales, in other regions, for other challenges? (Weight=2)

Outdoors Rx

  • Does the initiative help advance and promote the health benefits of time outside? (Weight=2)

Rating Scale:

  • 1 = Not at all
  • 10 = Completely

Total = Sum (Ratings x Weight)

The top 25% of the initiatives as evaluated by SHIFT researchers are then invited to participate in SHIFT, which showcases on-the-ground work that is successfully meeting challenges at the nexus of outdoor recreation and conservation in communities around the country.

The top 10% of the initiatives in each category (or the three highest-ranking initiatives, whichever is greater) comprise the finalists for The SHIFT Awards.

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