Several awards are given out at the NYSFOLA annual conference.

Lake Tear of the Clouds Award

Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains.  
Photo courtesy of Carl Heilman II

The Lake Tear of the Clouds Award is NYSFOLA’s highest honor. This award, named for the “highest” lake in the state, is awarded when appropriate (and often without prior notification) to a person who has shown the highest dedication to lakes and watersheds, assisted NYSFOLA in its mission and produced exceptional performance in his or her field of endeavor.


  • 1996 – New York State Governor George Pataki
  • 1997 – Lyle S. Raymond, Cornell Cooperative Extension at Cornell University
  • 1998 – United States Congressman Sherwood Boehlert
  • 1999 – Steve LaMere, Adirondack Ecologists
  • 2000 – Donald Keppel, NYSFOLA Board of Directors, Findley Lake Association
  • 2001 – Scott A. Kishbaugh, P.E., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • 2002 – Mary Arthur Beebe, Lake George Association
  • 2003 – United States Congressman James Walsh
  • 2004 – Dean Long, NYSFOLA Board of Directors and Dr. Willard Harman, SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station
  • 2005 – Robert Johnson, Cornell University
  • 2006 – Robert D. Hennigan, Professor Emeritus, SUNY ESF
  • 2007 – Dr. Steven W. Effler, Upstate Freshwater Institute
  • 2008 – Dr. Bruce Gilman, Community College of the Finger Lakes
  • 2009 – David Wright, Esq., NYSFOLA General Counsel
  • 2010 – Scott A. Kishbaugh, P.E., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • 2011 – Bob Rosati – NYSFOLA Board of Directors, Melody Lake Association
  • 2012 – Nancy Mueller, NYSFOLA Manager & Assistant CSLAP Coordinator
  • 2013 – Paul Lord, Otsego Lake Association, SUNY College at Oneonta
  • 2014 – Dr. Jay Bloomfield, NYS DEC Division of Water
  • 2015 – Dr. Gregory Boyer, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
  • 2016 – MaryGail Perkins, Upstate Freshwater Institute
  • 2017 – Dr. Rebecca Schneider, NYSFOLA Board of Directors, Cornell University Department of Natural Resources
  • 2018 – Dr. Stephen Souza, Princeton Hydro, LLC
  • 2019 – Scott Cook, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 7, Finger Lakes Hub
  • 2020 – Chris Doyle, SOLitude Lake Management
2018 Lake Tear of the Clouds recipient Dr. Stephen Souza

Lake Steward Award

The Lake Steward Award is presented each year to a lake association volunteer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for his/her lake association. Nominations can be sent to the NYSFOLA office throughout the year. Awards are presented at the Annual Conference banquet.

Submit a description of the nominee’s contributions to Nancy Mueller, Manager, NYS FOLA, PO Box 84, LaFayette, NY 10384 or via email at no later than March 31st.

Newsletter Awards

Does your lake association have an award worthy newsletter? Enter it in the annual NYSFOLA newsletter contest. We have separate categories for both print and digital editions. In each category, awards will be presented to small, medium, and large sized lake associations. Entries are judge on the following attributes:

  • Overall appearance (layout is easy to read & visually attractive)
  • Use of color in text (one or four color)
  • Contains photographs or graphics (B/W or full color)
  • Publication information (name of editor, co-editor, issue number or date, etc.)
  • President’s message or greeting
  • Committee reports (summaries of what’s going on within committees/action being taken)
  • Articles or features by individual contributors (can include reports by officers)
  • Newsletter includes the following elements: masthead; mission statement; table of contents; list of officers; and calendar of events

Please note: These guidelines are to be used for the purposes of this contest only. While full color publications are desirable, content will nearly always trumps fancy bells & whistles. Use of color will not be the determining factor in selecting a winner. The overall aim is to produce a newsletter that is informative, interesting and educational, something that members will peruse at the very least and read in its entirety at best. If it contains pertinent news about the lake and its residents, it most likely will end up being held onto until the next issue is published. Advertising to offset the cost of newsletter production and mailing will not be a selection factor however it should not be obtrusive or detract from the publication’s readability.

To enter – by March 1, 2021

Print Category: Please mail 5 hardcopies (one for each judge) of your best 2018 newsletter to: NYSFOLA PO Box 84 LaFayette, NY 13084

Digital Category: Please email your best 2020 e-newsletter to Nancy Mueller She will confirm receipt so if you don’t hear back, please let her know. It may have found its way to the SPAM folder.  For the judges, please print and mail 5 hardcopies and mail to the address above. We recognize that the digital version might look slightly different in print.  This will enable judges to look at both.

Marty Keppel Volunteer Service Award – This award is named after long time NYSFOLA office volunteer Martha Keppel of Findley Lake.  It is presented by the Board of Directors, as deemed appropriate, to honor a non-NYSFOLA Board member who has dedicated outstanding volunteer efforts to the organization.

Media Award

This award seeks to recognize outstanding journalism that has promoted lake stewardship and has brought attention to issues and potential problems involving New York State lakes or their watersheds, including but not limited to stories featuring:

  • Harmful algal blooms
  • Impacts of development on water quality
  • Dam Safety
  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Watershed management and non-point pollution
  • Boating and boating safety
  • Government Issues

For additional information, including how to apply for this award, please contact NYSFOLA Manager Nancy Mueller at