PA Wilds now seeking 2022 Champion Award nominations

PA Wilds now seeking 2022 Champion Award nominations

2022 PA Wilds Dinner & Awards planned for summertime

Do you know of an individual, organization, community, or businesses that in the last year has helped to grow and sustainably develop the outdoor recreation economy and nature tourism in the PA Wilds?

Nominate them for a PA Wilds Champion Award!

champion awards“There are nine different award categories open for public nominations,” said Cathy Lenze, board member and Outreach Committee chair for the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, the nonprofit that coordinates the annual Champion of the PA Wilds Awards recognition events in coordination with the PA Wilds Planning Team. “We are seeking nominations which represent our incredible region in the PA Wilds!  This is an opportunity to show off your favorite places, your community leaders, your favorite local artists and so much more.”

The prestigious awards are typically presented during a banquet that convenes more than 250 businesses and community leaders from across Pennsylvania.  That in-person event has been disrupted for two years in a row; however, PA Wilds Center forged forward in 2021 and the PA Wilds Champions were celebrated virtually and in small groups with county commissioners and the winners’ families. (You can learn more about the 2021 Champions at

“This year, we are hoping to celebrate the 2022 Champions at an outdoor event during the summer to reduce risks associated with the pandemic,” said Lenze. “We are excited to explore this format for our banquet event, but it means we will have an expedited nomination period, so we are looking forward to hearing from you!”

Nominations are due by 5:00 PM EST Friday, April 1, 2022.  To make a nomination, visit



  • Artisan of the Year Award – Honors a PA Wilds Juried Artisan who has gone above and beyond to use their medium and creativity to promote the region or help advance The Wilds Cooperative of PA.
  • Best Brand Ambassador – Honors an organization or individual who has made significant contributions to promoting and developing the PA Wilds brand through logo use, place name recognition, branded product development, storytelling, event or experience packaging or similar efforts.
  • Business of the Year Award – Honors a new or existing business owner that has taken bold steps to grow their business in a way that embodies what it means to marry conservation and economic development and to offer an authentic experience or product to visitors and residents.
  • Conservation Stewardship Award – Honors the best practices and achievements of an individual, business or organization that demonstrates a commitment to conservation and outstanding resource stewardship of the natural and cultural assets in the PA Wilds.
  • Event of the Year Award – Recognizes a festival, race, art show or other local or regional event in the PA Wilds which through its quality and authenticity and use of the PA Wilds brand has become a regional attraction that is having a positive economic and social impact on the area.  
  • Great Design Award – Honors an individual, business or organization that has done outstanding work to preserve, protect or enhance an area’s rural community character and to promote the use and understanding of the PA Wilds Design Guide.
  • Great Places Award – Honors innovative asset development and promotion that have worked together to create an excellent new or revamped sustainable tourism destination within the PA Wilds. 
  • Inspiring Youth Award – Honors an adult or youth who has made outstanding contributions to involve young people in the work to grow the region’s outdoor recreation economy and to conserve its unparalleled natural and cultural resource assets. 
  • Outstanding Leader Award –  Honors a person, organization, business or elected official that has used their platform to advocate for outdoor recreation economic growth in the PA Wilds as a way to create jobs, diversify local economies, inspire stewardship and improve quality of life.

Nominations are due by 5:00 PM EST Friday, April 1, 2022.  To make a nomination, visit



The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds is home to the greatest concentration of public lands in the Commonwealth. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. Based in the region, the Center is the lead nonprofit for the PA Wilds Conservation Landscape effort, a 15+year collaborative effort by local, state and federal partners to establish the region as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, attract investment, inspire stewardship, improve quality of life and attract and retain the region’s working-age population. PA Wilds Center works closely with PA DCNR, PA DCED, the region’s county governments, and other investors in the regional strategy.

Among its many programs, the PA Wilds Center operates the regional visitor site and related marketing; manages The Wilds Cooperative of PA, a robust network of makers and other rural entrepreneurs and partner organizations that are helping to grow the region as a destination; houses the PA Wilds Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship, a free planning resource for communities; manages the PA Wilds trademark for the public good; is scaling a commerce platform (brick and mortar PA Wilds Conservation Shops and the online marketplace that fills gaps in visitor services while expanding market access for rural entrepreneurs and raising funds for conservation. The Center is also the fiscal and administrative home of the PA Wilds Planning Team, a regional stakeholder group formed in 2006 through a ground-breaking Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement.

For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit To learn more about the WCO, visit Explore the PA Wilds at Find products made in the region at

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