National Wildlife Refuge System

Refuge System Award Winners

May 28, 2015 - The American Recreation Coalition has honored two National Wildlife Refuge System employees with its 2015 Legends and Beacon awards.


Walt Tegge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA, is the 2015 Legends Award winner.
Credit: USFWS

Walter Tegge¸ recently retired visitor services manager at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA, received the Legends Award for outstanding contributions in the field of outdoor recreation. Back Bay Refuge welcomes about 140,000 visitors a year. Tegge developed a tram service that brings visitors through the refuge and also to False Cape State Park, which is only accessible through the refuge. The tram program has grown from 1996 Olympics-surplus, tug-drawn carts to a 26-passenger open tram and a 28-passenger closed bus. 


Tegge also spearheaded collaboration with the City of Virginia Beach to identify how the public can get to the refuge without using private cars. The ongoing study is considering water access by canoe/kayak or water taxi; bicycle trails and an expanded tram program.   Tegge also worked closely with two nonprofit Friends groups supporting Back Bay Refuge.


Lisa Cox, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, CA, is the 2015 Beacon Award winner.
Credit: Leah Eskelin/USFWS

Lisa Cox has been honored with the Beacon Award for innovative use of technology. A park ranger at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, CA, Cox manages recreational and educational programs on four refuges (Tijuana Slough, San Diego Bay, San Diego, Seal Beach).  Cox built and maintains websites for each refuge. She recruits volunteers and reaches non-traditional audiences through social media, including Facebook and Twitter. She frequently serves as a social media and web content instructor for Service programs.


According to the American Recreation Coalition, Cox is a role model for girls in southern California; her activities with youth groups like the Girl Scouts and the “Hike with a Ranger” program reach numerous under-served communities in the San Diego area.




Last updated: May 28, 2015