JOSEPH A. PIEHUTA PRIZE                    CARL SAFINA AWARD                    CONSERVE AWARD

The Joseph A. Piehuta Prize

The Alliance established The Joseph A. Piehuta Prize in 2010 as a memorial in honor of Joseph “Joe” Piehuta of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whose vision helped to shape Sc3. This award recognizes a Sc3 Fellow who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment over time, and has contributed greatly to the goals of Sc3 and the Green Schools Alliance.

Joseph A. Piehuta was an extraordinary role model who, like the greatest leaders and visionaries, led from behind. He would quietly and modestly create the framework for projects to succeed, and others to shine. Joe’s counsel and advice was the backbone of every team and working group in which he participated. He never sought recognition beyond the satisfaction that he felt from doing the best job possible to help his colleagues make a difference. He believed in under-promising and over-delivering and was always able to help people work through the complexities they brought to the table, determine and clarify a vision, and craft a clear a path to reach the end goal. The result was always elegant in its simplicity.

Past Recipients

2016 - Taylor Grove and Jacquelyn "Jax" Ingrassia

2015 - Jessie Thornton & Zach Woogen

2014 - Polly Terzian (with Marca Piehuta)

2013 - Alexandra Barlowe and Aida Orozco (pictured)

2012 - Sarah Allen and Amy Chase (with Marca Piehuta)

2011 - Patrick Reed and Pamela Mishkin (with Marca Piehuta)

2010 - Eric Estroff (with Marca Piehuta)

2009 - James Underberg (with Marca Piehuta)

Eligibility and Nomination

Sc3 Fellows are eligible. Alliance officials and Sc3 cohort leaders nominate candidates for the each year’s award.

Prize Criteria

Determination of the prize is based on an outstanding or exceptional contribution by Sc3 Fellows to the mission of Sc3 and the Green Schools Alliance. The prize is awarded to Fellows who, during the year following Sc3, have demonstrated exemplary leadership by outstanding fulfillment of an Sc3 commitment, advancement of Alliance program(s), or pursuit of an action or actions that further conservation and climate awareness on the local, national or global scale. Examples include an achievement, a set of skills, a creative idea or innovation that can be shown to have an exceptional impact upon their school or Alliance community. The overarching principle in the review process is the principle of “making a difference.” An Award Committee, consisting of former Piehuta Prize recipients, NCTC staff, Sc3 program directors, and Green Schools Alliance staff, considers the nominees and makes the selection. The Award Committee looks for evidence of intensity, creativity, focus and a level of selfless leadership that results in significant achievements that support the goals of Sc3 and the Alliance and the well being of the student’s school or community.


The Prize, an engraved, hand-crafted plaque made of Forest Stewardship Council Certified wood, is presented annually at the closing ceremonies of Sc3.

The plaque is generously donated by:

  Rivanna logo

The Carl Safina Award

In honor of the work of Sc3 thought-leader and presenter, Dr. Carl Safina, the Alliance and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created The Carl Safina Award in 2014. This award is presented to one student annually, should they arise, who reflects the values and determination required to make a lasting difference in their community and in the world. 

Dr. Carl Safina is a world-renown biologist and environmentalist who wanted to give back to Sc3 in support of a student who demonstrated on-going commitment to protect and preserve the environment. Carl Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. Safina is the inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the steering committee of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and is founding president of the not-for-profit organization, The Safina Center. He hosted the 10-part PBS series Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina. Learn more about Dr. Carl Safina.


Past Recipients

2016 - Katherine "Katie" J. Bremer

2015 - Lea Jarnberg

2014 - Jaried Buxton


The recognition on plaque reads as follows:"The Carl Safina Award was established in 2014 by the Green Schools Alliance and the National Conservation Training Center of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the support of Dr. Carl Safina. It recognizes a Sc3 Fellow who exemplifies leadership, determination and a firm commitment to practical solutions for conserving natural places and free-living species, no matter the obstacles." The Safina Award, an engraved, hand-crafted plaque made of Forest Stewardship Council Certified wood, is presented annually at the closing ceremonies of Sc3. 

The Conserve Award

The Conserve School, a semester school for environmentally and outdoor minded high school students located in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin, has been a strong supporter of Sc3 for many years. The Conserve Award is given to two new rising 9th or 10th grade Sc3 Fellows, who have made an outstanding contribution to Sc3. They are the embodiments of inclusivity, environmental spirit, and leadership. We are very excited to see these students grow into powerful environmental leaders.

2016 - Angeli Mittal

2016 - Jonathan Yue