New York State
Ornithological Association

For the birders and birds of the Empire State

NYSOA  Awards Program

This page last updated 9/18/16

Each fall, NYSOA presents awards at the Annual Meeting banquet. Nominations for awards can be made by member clubs/organizations. For the Stoner Award, nominations can be made by member clubs/organizations or individual NYSOA members.  The awards are:

Send nominations to the the .  The deadline for 2017 nominations is June 20, 2017.

The Gordon M. Meade Distinguished Service Award

This special award is given to individuals for outstanding service to NYSOA.  Send suggestions to the .

Most recently (in 2014), one individual was recognized with the Gordon M. Meade Distinguished Service Award:

  • Andy Mason, for his outstanding leadership and service to NYSOA as President, Vice President, Teasurer, Director, and Conservation Committee chair, researching issues and advocating well-articulated positions to protect the birds of New York State.

            The previous 6 winners of the Gordon M. Meade Distinguished Service Award were:

  • Carena Pooth (2012)
  • Phyllis Jones (2011)
  • Tim Baird (2010)
  • William B. Reeves (2009)
  • Brenda Best (2008)
  • Valerie Freer (2008)

See a list of all Gordon M. Meade Award Winners since 1976


The President's Award  UPDATED 9/18/16

The President's Award was most recently given to Irving Cantor in 2016 to recognize his more than 30 years of outstanding service on NYSOA/FNYSBC's Auditing Committee. His sage advice will be greatly missed.

The President's Award was previously given to:

  • Barbara Butler (2014)
  • Jeanne Skelly (2007)
  • Bob Miller (2001)
  • Phyllis Jones (2000)


The Emanuel Levine Memorial Award  UPDATED 9/18/16

This award, formerly the John J. Elliott Award, recognizes the best Kingbird article each year, which is selected by the editorial staff.

The 2016 Emanuel Levine Award went to Kathryn Schneider, for “The case for adding Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) to the Checklist of the Birds of New York State," published in The Kingbird, Vol. 65, No. 3, September 2015.

            The previous 5 winners of the John J. Elliott Award were:

  • Guy A. Baldassare and Joshua Stiller (2015)
  • Kyle Wright (2014)
  • Joseph Chernek (2013)
  • Mark Manske (2012)
  • John Confer (2011)

See a list of all John J. Elliott & Emanuel Levine Memorial Award Winners since 1965  UPDATED 9/18/16


The Lillian C. Stoner Award UPDATED 9/18/16

In 1975 Lillian C. Stoner,  a founding member of the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs (now NYSOA), donated money to the organization to establish a fund to enable a student to attend the Annual Meeting each year. The intent of the award is not so much to recognize past achievement but rather to foster a promising young person’s interest in wild birds and ornithology by offering the education and experience of the fall conference.

NYSOA considers nominees who will, at the time of the conference, be in high school grades 11 or 12 (junior or senior), or in one of their first two years in college (freshman or sophomore).Candidates may be anywhere along the birding skill spectrum from beginner to advanced. Our objective is to select winners who demonstrate a strong interest in wild birds and whose attendance at the Annual Meeting will positively influence their desire to pursue birding and/or ornithology as a lifelong interest.

Nominations may be made by NYSOA member clubs/organizations, NYSOA Individual/Family members, and the New York State Young Birders Club.

Every student nominee for this award (whether a winner or not) will receive a one year membership in NYSOA. Each Lillian C. Stoner Award winner will receive a certificate and a monetary award to help defray the cost of attending the Annual Meeting. Winners will be honored publicly at the Annual Meeting banquet and announced in NYSOA's publications and website.

If you are interested in nominating a budding birder (or a more advanced one), submit a completed nomination form to the by June 20 for consideration during the same year.

There was one winner in 2016:   

  • Kai Victor, high school senior, New York, NY   (nominated by the New York State Young Birders Club)

Previous winners of the Lillian C. Stoner Award in recent years were:

  • Joseph Hernandez (2015)
  • Marc Katz (2014)
  • Nathaniel Hernandez; Courtney Moore; Zachariah Smart (2013)
  • Greg Lawrence; Sarah MacLean; Alexandra Hale (2011)
  • Hope Batcheller; Jacob Drucker; Carolyn Sedgwick; Benjamin Van Doren (2010)

See a list of all Lillian C. Stoner Award Winners since 1975  UPDATED 9/18/16
Download Lillian C. Stoner Award nomination form  


Certificates of Appreciation   UPDATED 9/18/16

In recent years, nominations have been accepted for recipients of Certificates of Appreciation.  Some of these certificates are awarded for exceptional efforts that benefited New York State birds and/or ornithology.  Others have been awarded to "hosts" of rare birds that visited New York State.  These hosts are recognized for their hospitality to birders who came to view the rare bird.  Nominations for Certificates of Appreciation should be submitted in letter form, providing the name and address of the nominee along with the reason for the nomination, to the .

In 2016, Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to:       

  • John and Marilyn Paarlberg for welcoming and assisting the birders who came to enjoy the Harris's Sparrow at their home in November 2015.
  • Richard Guthrie for arranging access for birders to see the Harris's Sparrow in Loudonville in November 2015.
  • Prospect Park Alliance for welcoming the birders who came to enjoy the Painted Bunting in Prospect Park in December 2015.
  • Rob Bate  for his constant communication with both the Prospect Park Alliance and the birding community to ensure birders' enjoyment of the Painted Bunting with minimal impact to the park, in December 2015.
  • Laurie LaFond for her strong and effective advocacy of the Washington County Grasslands IBA.
  • Chemung Valley Audubon Society for organizing and hosting the 2016 NYSOA Annual Meeting / NYS Birders Conference.

Other recent Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to:

  • Candace Giles; Aidan Perkins; Brian White & Connie Soja; Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club (2015)
  • Tom and Wendy Weaver; Cyndy and Richard Tkachuck; Members of the Town of Lansing, NY; Cayuga Bird Club (2014)
  • Andrew Baksh; Nancy and Albert Loomis; Ralph Tabor; Queens County Bird Club (2013)
  • Fred & Eleanor Jordan; Robert Schumann; Dick Zeccola (2012)
  • Bobby & Cathy Horvath; Marilyn Manning & neighbors; Ray Rainbolt, Jeff Bolsinger, & Fort Drum Staff; Gerry Smith; Rene Van Schaack; D. Bruce Yolton (2009)


Member Club/Organization Grants

NYSOA is committed to facilitating the work of its member clubs/organizations and offers modest grants (usually less than $100) to help defray the costs associated with projects they undertake. In the past, grants have been awarded for purchases of equipment for specific projects (e.g. mistnets) and the printing of local or regional bird checklists.  More recently grants have gone toward establishing a bird sightings database and constructing an informational kiosk at Cayuga Lake.  Applications can be made at any time, and should include a brief description of the project, items to be produced, and a statement of how much funding is needed and how the funds will be used relative to the overall project budget.  Send applications in letter form to the .

A member club/organization grant was awarded most recently in 2010 to the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch to purchase one-page hawk identification guides for an educational event.

Newsletter Award

The Newsletter Award is presented to editors of member club/organization newsletters to recognize both the quality of content and the visual impact of newsletters.  Newsletter Awards were presented in 2000 to:

  • John Burroughs Natural History Society for The Chirp
  • Lake Erie Bird Club for Wrens’ Ramblings
  • Great South Bay Audubon Society for Sanderling
  • Moriches Bay Audubon Society for The Osprey
  • New York City Audubon for The Urban Audubon
  • The Raptor Club for The Raptor Report
  • Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club for the article "A Century of Change" by Stan DeOrsey in Wings over Dutchess

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