The Western National Parks Association (WNPA), a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service (NPS) since 1938, announced the recipients of its annual awards at the WNPA board reception on November 8th in Tucson, Arizona. For more than 30 years, WNPA has recognized individuals and organizations who make exceptional contributions to national parks and increase awareness of WNPA’s mission.
Katherine Faz, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve and Liaison for the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, received the Edward B. Danson Award for her commitment to the shared mission of WNPA and the NPS at Great Sand Dunes.
Since 2011 Faz has committed time and resources to support the improvement and growth of WNPA’s park store at Great Sand Dunes. As a result of her continuous and persistent dedication to serving visitors and leveraging the support provided by WNPA, the store reached $1 million in sales for the 2018 fiscal year, a growth of nearly 100 percent over the past four years. Katherine has a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a Masters of Art in History from Texas State University. She also received an award from NPS for 10 years of service this past August. She worked at National Park locations in Texas and New Mexico before coming to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
The Edward B. Danson Award honors those who show exceptional support and loyalty to the WNPA mission and national parks. The award was named for the noted archaeologist and director of the Museum of Northern Arizona (1956–1975). Danson served as a member of the WNPA board and the National Park System Advisory Board. He was awarded the Department of the Interior Conservation Award in 1986.