Rising Leader Award

Rising Leader award

A new NAA Annual Award introduced in 2022!


NAA recognizes younger professionals, who, early in their careers, demonstrate excellence in research, protection and stewardship of natural areas. NAA‘s Rising Leader Award (RLA) is given in recognition of an individual who, in a relatively short amount of time, has developed and/or implemented a new idea that addresses an old issue in natural areas research, protection, or stewardship; or, who has made some other significant impact at an early career stage. While not yet at their professional peak, RLA nominees have already inspired others with their innovative thinking, collaborative efforts and inclusive approaches in natural areas research, protection and stewardship. 

The award recognizes an individual who: 

  1. Is an outstanding natural areas practitioner and within the first ten years of their professional career. 

  2. Has developed and/or implemented a new idea that addresses an existing problem

  3. Has made one or more significant contributions to the understanding, identification, protection, and/or stewardship of natural areas, and the mission of the NAA.

  4. Developed creative or innovative strategies in any and all realms of the natural areas profession.

  5. Acts with a high integrity.

NAA Award recipients receive:

  • Award presentation at the annual NAA Awards Dinner during the Natural Areas Conference. 
  • Complimentary registration and travel to the Natural Areas Conference.
  • Recognition in all NAA publications, websites, and social media.


Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.