Assateague Island Presents Two Annual Awards

Assateague Island Presents Two Annual Awards
Pictured, from left, are annual award winners Markus Williams, Tami Pearl and Anastasia Rhodes of Assateague Island National Seashore. Submitted Photo

BERLIN — The annual Assateague Island Superintendent’s Award and the Assateague Island Safety Award were recently presented.

The Superintendent’s Award is given to an employee or employees who performs “above and beyond” during the previous year. The Safety Award is given to an employee who has made a major contribution to the safety program or the safety culture of the park.

The 2021 Superintendent’s Awards were presented to Tami Pearl and Markus Williams.

Pearl is a Biological Science Technician, specializing in wildlife. Her primary responsibilities lie with Assateague’s avian monitoring programs, which include the piping plover, a federally listed threatened shorebird species. In January 2021, she initiated the first-ever virtual meeting for wildlife managers within the Piping Plover Southern Recovery Unit and was recognized for her significant leadership in this endeavor by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and her peers. She conducts annual avian population surveys including breeding bald eagles and American Oystercatchers and works closely with the Maryland DNR monitoring colonial nesting shore bird species in the summer and migrating saw whet owls in the fall. She is passionate about all of the seashore’s wildlife management projects and has worked to make significant technological advances in field data collection protocols for the beach nesting bird monitoring program. She readily participates in inter-divisional discussions, works well with external collaborators, and is actively engaged with finding solutions to some of the park’s biggest challenges.

Williams is the Supervisory Recreation Fee Technician for the national seashore. He has taken on many additional duties while leading a hard-working fee collection staff through another year of record-breaking visitation at one of largest and most popular campground operations in the National Park Service. He has participated in important national-level programs including the launch of the new service-wide Recreation Business Management System, training all fee staff and troubleshooting system functionality and the development and implementation of the new and improved reclassification of the fee collection job series. He is an active member of Assateague’s interdivisional wild horse working group and an advisor for future entrance station and campground improvements.

The 2021 Safety Award goes to Anastasia Rhodes, a seasonal Visitor Services Assistant working with Assateague’s Horse Management staff. Last year was her second season with horse management, putting her in an important leadership role. Anastasia was integral in orienting and training new Horse Management interns and Pony Patrol volunteers. These staff members are dedicated to educating visitors about the wild horses while monitoring and ensuring safe viewing distances and proper food storage compliance. Anastasia has drafted Standard Operating Procedures for moving wild horses and a new Job Hazard Analyses for UTV operation. She has worked and operated equipment for two seasons without any safety incidents. She and her 2021 Horse Management team performed hundreds of hours of patrols safely. Her work ethic, skills and training provided for a safe season for park visitors and the Assateague wild horses.